New genetic testing through Medicare has been welcomed by Pathology Australia today. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced new genetic testing through the BRAC1 and 2 pathology tests for breast and ovarian cancer. The initiative will improve access to testing for Australian women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
Pathology Australia President, Pathologist Nick Musgrave said better access for patients and their families to these vital genetic tests will mean women at a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers will have the benefit of early detection, faster treatment and improved health outcomes.
“Abnormalities of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the commonest cause of inherited breast and ovarian cancers, Dr Musgrave said.
“In patients with a strong family history of these diseases the incidence may be as high as 20 per cent. These tests mean these patients and their families’ leads to appropriate preventative measures, delivered early.
“In addition, BRCA testing of cancer patients can determine the most appropriate treatment such as chemotherapy”.
Dr Musgrave said pathology was an essential medical service necessary to ensure a high-quality health system.
“Some 70 per cent of medical diagnoses are based on pathology testing and 100 per cent of cancer diagnoses use pathology testing.
“This is just one test of many new genetic tests of the future that are valuable for patients. Doctors now can, based on the Pathologists’ diagnosis, make treatment decisions early that will support patient’s healthcare outcomes into the future.
“Today, Australian women are benefitting from the advances in pathology and medical care more generally. Australian women should be pleased by this new listing on the Medicare Benefits Schedule which are the results of the latest, evidence based, high-quality health care.
“Its great to see such a positive outcome for women,” Dr Musgrave said.
Pathology Australia is the peak body representing private pathology in Australia.