The latest guidelines for the genetic testing of breast cancer patients have limited the execution of testing on the total number of women. Due to the rigid rules, many women may miss on the testing process.
According to a cancer surgeon in Texas and the co-author of a study Dr. Peter Beitsch, the insurance companies are inclined towards the guidelines mentioned, which decides whether the amount can be reimbursed or not. Therefore, the patients who don’t have the genetic test results may miss on receiving a proper treatment, costing them their lives.
Every year, around 330,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer in the US. Among the total number, around 10% of these women are likely to get affected due to the hereditary causes. However, the guidelines for the genetic testing of the cancer patients were created 20 years ago, which are outdated at the present time.
The guidelines were designed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, which is a non-profit alliance, focused to improve the treatment of the patients while enhancing the care received by them. It is linked to 28 cancer centers and is co-founded by the TME Breast Care Network, which is also a non-profit association dedicated to advance the treatment for breast cancer.
According to Dr. Peter Beitsch, 20 years back, there were tests based on only 2 genes, BCRA1 and BCRA2, which are tumor dominating genes present in every human. If due to any reason, mutation or alteration occurs in either or both of the genes, the probability of getting affected with breast cancer enhance manifolds. Genetic testing is expensive and difficult to execute, which is around $5,000. Therefore, the guidelines were made to decrease the comprehensive cost of the treatment in the United States.
However, the guidelines need improving to cover a broader aspect of the costs.