Women eligible for breast cancer gene tests not always getting them

Not all U.S. women eligible to be tested for the so-called breast cancer genes are getting the tests, according to a new study.

Researchers examined records of women from 12 southeastern states who get their medical care at community health centers. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2014 who were covered by Medicare and eligible to be tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2—gene mutations that indicate increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers and can influence treatment—only a small percentage were getting tested.

The new findings “are disheartening, but they’re not surprising,” said Timothy Rebbeck, Vincent L. Gregory, Jr. Professor of Cancer Prevention at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in an August 14, 2018 Reuters article.

Rebbeck, who was not involved in the study, added, “This is exactly what you would expect given the situation with healthcare in the U.S. You could make the same argument for many other aspects of healthcare. It’s a healthcare system that leaves a lot of people behind.”

Read the Reuters article: Not all women eligible for breast cancer gene tests are getting them