Angelina Jolie’s recent double mastectomy left a lot of people wondering about genetic testing and preventive surgery for breast cancer. The patented tests for the genes linked to breast cancer are only held by one company so far, Myriad Genetics, and the costs of the tests have many people wondering if they’re a realistic option, reported the Grio.

The breast cancer genetic test entails providing your doctor with a cheek or a blood sample to send to Myriad. There, the lab screens for the presence of two genes—BCRA 1 or BCRA 2—that identifies risk. Women who test positive for either gene have an 85 percent risk of developing breast cancer, according to Myriad, which notes that more than 1 million women have been tested so far. It’s important to underscore that the genetic test does not detect actual breast cancer. This is because most breast cancers that are related to genes still have yet to be identified.

But some in the medical community believe that Myriad’s breast cancer test isn’t affordable for many people. For example, without insurance, the test can cost up to $3,000. Also, many insurance plans tack on significant co-pays—sometimes as much as 20 percent of the total cost—that make it impossible for many working Americans to afford it.

Genetic testing also cannot be done without a doctor’s order, made after he or she deciphers a patient’s breast cancer risk in response to a series of questions. According to the National Cancer Institute, the likelihood of a mutation in the BCRA genes increases with the number of relatives who have had breast or ovarian cancer.

“I worry about not just access to health care but also lack of knowledge,” said Bridget Oppong, MD, a breast surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Women of color typically don’t do their due diligence when they’re diagnosed.” Oppong suggested that all women, especially women of color, generate a list of questions to ask their doctor about testing before they book an appointment.

Myriad said that, currently, of those eligible for the genetic tests, more than 95 percent are already covered by their insurance, and that Medicare and Medicaid also cover the test. More people will be covered under new provisions of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. health care reform. In addition, Myriad said its patient assistance program offers free or reduced price testing for those who have co-pays of more than $375 dollars.

Myriad added that a mastectomy for a woman who is BCRA-positive will always be covered by insurance. (Removal of both breasts, the procedure Jolie chose, can reduce the risk for breast cancer by up to 90 percent.)

Studies show that African-American and Hispanic women are more likely than other demographic groups to have treatment delays, larger tumors and reduced survival rates during breast cancer treatment. Click here for more information.

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