Subsidized BRCA Testing

The Jewish Week article “New Subsidy for Breast Cancer Testing” by Robert Goldblum explores a new program started by the nonprofit, Program for Jewish Genetic Health, and Montefiore Health System to offer subsidized genetic testing for Ashkenazi women and men who could be carriers of the BRCA 1/2 genes for breast cancer. The cost of the test is $100. The Jewish Week interviewed Dr. Susan Klugman, who is the medical director for the Program for Jewish Genetic Health, the director of the division of reproductive genetics at Montefiore, and professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health at Einstein.

Dr. Klugman explained that “a more affordable price will make this testing more accessible to those who are motivated to learn about their carrier status. We also hope that our awareness campaign with subsidized testing will draw people who did not already appreciate the value of BRCA testing.” The subsidized price is very appealing as the average costs of such tests can be upwards of $600. This type of testing is particularly done for those who have a family history, but the subsidized plan will allow those without a direct family history to find out whether or not they are carriers. Distinguishing carriers is of great important because studies have found that the frequency of BRCA mutations in Ashkenazi Jews is the same whether or not there is a family history of cancer.

American Friends of Rabin Medical Center holds an annual NYC 5k Schlep Run/Walk to help fund BRCA research at Rabin Medical Center to help save lives. Rabin Medical Center is home to a BRCA Multidisciplinary Clinic where research takes place in hopes of preventing cancer and saving lives. To learn more about the schlep or to donate to Rabin, visit our website http://www.afrmc.org

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