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Insurance Coverage Could Be Obstacle to Genetic Testing That Could Warn of Breast Cancer Risk

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monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers say that poor insurance coverage may mean a lack of genetic testing to warn women of their risk of breast cancer.

When breast cancer runs in families, mutations in the BRCA gene puts women at much higher risk of developing the disease. If those mutations are found, steps can be taken to prevent those cancers from developing. However, researchers say, health insurance may be an obstacle for some women.

Looking at data from 11,000 people, the vast majority of them women, from a study done at the University of Michigan, researchers found 2,671 people with cancer who did not receive BRCA testing. About 29 percent said that health insurance coverage was the main reason — leading researchers to believe that lesser insurance could be a barrier to important genetic testing.

The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.


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