What Is the Cost of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer?

Prevent breast and ovarian cancer with genetic testing. It doesn’t cost as much as you may think, and it could save your life.

So, you’re interested in going through with genetic testing for breast cancer, but you’re wondering about the cost. Well, you’re in luck. The cost of genetic testing for breast cancer is NOT as much as you may think or heard. There’s a much lower cost option that’s just as accurate and more comprehensive than the one you can get through healthcare professionals. 

Background Story About the Cost of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

The cost of a genetic test for breast cancer varies depending on the lab where the test is performed. A few years ago, genetic testing for breast cancer was very expensive - up to $2,000. However, since the Supreme Court denied the patent for genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to identify breast cancer risk, the cost has decreased. This decision allowed other DNA testing companies to offer a genetic test for breast cancer. With additional choices for BRCA testing, there are more options and that drove the cost of genetic testing for breast cancer down. 

Watch the video below to learn more about what happened with Myriad Genetics (the company that tried to patent BRCA1 and BRCA2):

The good news is Myriad Genetics does not own our genes anymore. Genetic testing for BRCA1, BRCA2, and many other genes that have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer are now able to be tested by labs across the country. While some labs still charge a lot of money, there are some that offer the testing for much less. 

How Much Does Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Cost?

The cost of genetic testing for breast cancer can range from $400 to $2,000+. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of genetic testing, but only if the person falls into their criteria. 

Criteria for Insurance Coverage for Breast Cancer Genetic Testing 

Health insurance providers, including Medicaid and Medicare, differ in the criteria for coverage for DNA tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Generally speaking, the person should have a family history of cancer - breast or ovarian cancer. Genetic counseling is another prerequisite and recommendations by a genetic counselor not affiliated with a laboratory are also often necessary. A genetic counselor will perform a risk assessment to identify risk factors and susceptibility to developing the condition.

People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a high risk of breast cancer when compared to the general population. This is why most insurance companies will cover these individuals. 

Those with a family history of breast cancer and have family members with genetic mutations are at higher risk of also suffering from it. Cancer treatment is much more expensive than a DNA test and the preventative strategies for those with BRCA gene mutations are also much more cost-effective. More on that below.

The only way to know for sure if a health insurance company will pay for genetic test results is to request health plan information. Many people have changed their insurance plans to include coverage for breast cancer genetic testing. Changing health plans may not always be the right decision, so weigh the pros and cons carefully before moving forward with this option. Remember, breast cancer genetic testing costs aren’t as expensive as you believe - lower cost options are available.  

breast cancer treatment costs

Is Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Worth It?

With some health care providers charging $2,000+ for genetic testing for breast cancer, it can make many people wonder if it’s worth moving forward with it. The answer is it depends. 

Those who are at an increased risk of receiving a cancer diagnosis would benefit from the genetic information provided by the testing. Hereditary breast cancer is life-threatening and knowing more about the genetics involved can save a life. 

Those who do not have a family history and are not of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a lower risk of developing hereditary cancer. While the lifetime risk may be lower, many people still do undergo gene testing just for peace of mind. Most of the time, it’s the fear of having to pay for cancer treatment or they know someone who died from it. 

Is it worth it to you? You’ll have to ask yourself what benefits YOU will receive from the information. If it will improve your mental health because then you will know for sure whether you’re at risk for hereditary cancer, then it’s worth it. 

The Cost of Breast Cancer Treatment

When comparing the cost of genetic testing to the cost of breast cancer treatment, it’s plain to see the worth. 

  • Breast cancer has the highest treatment cost out of all cancer. 
  • Co-pays for breast cancer patients can be as much as $5,800 depending on insurance coverage. That’s nearly three times as much as the most expensive genetic testing for breast cancer. 
  • It’s not even the cost of the treatment that is high - the loss of income and future productivity is huge as well. Most cancer survivors don’t work the same job they did before their illness and usually take a pay cut. Some people have a difficult time performing after their treatment due to illness or distress, and that can lead to a loss of income as well. 

For those who do not have insurance to pay for treatment, the financial demands of oncology care can be insurmountable. The stress of battling cancer is bad enough but add in the financial hardships that come from it and you’ll really be distressed. The good news is that there is a way to prevent all of this stress from happening.

Learn More: Breast Cancer Genetic Testing: Pros and Cons

Preventing Breast Cancer

Preventing breast cancer is key to avoiding the high costs of breast cancer treatment. Cancer screening with a genetic test can set the stage for breast cancer prevention. Mammograms, while very effective in identifying cancerous tumors, can set the stage for treating breast cancer. Knowing that a person has a specific gene that genetically predisposes him/her to develop cancer can lead to strategies that will reduce the risk. 

Preventing breast cancer DOES NOT always mean having a prophylactic preventive surgery like a mastectomy. There are many ways to prevent the development of cancer, including avoiding certain hormones, radiation, and taking medication.

Positive Test Results and GINA

Many people avoid genetic testing because they believe it will affect their health and life insurance. This should not be a concern for anyone in the United States. In 2008, an act was put into place to ensure people were not discriminated against based on their genetic makeup. The act is called GINA, and it stands for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

A DNA test revealing a cancer gene should not have any influence on insurance. Insurance companies know this and if you ever feel as though you’ve been discriminated against based on your genes, contact a legal professional. 

Considerations for Men

Many men do not take breast cancer seriously. While statistically, women are more likely to develop it, men are also at risk. Men who suffer from or have a family history of other types of cancers such as pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer as well. This is why men should seriously consider genetic testing for breast cancer. In addition to revealing breast cancer genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2, it can shed light on other possible genetic predispositions.

Low Priced DNA Test for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer genetic testing can cost as little as $399 with Sequencing.com’s Whole Genome Sequencing service. This at-home genetic testing for breast cancer service is just as extensive as the one you would receive from a healthcare professional AND the results are more comprehensive. With the purchase of the Ultimate Genome Sequencing kit, you can send in your DNA sample to our laboratory and then the DNA’s raw data is analyzed for 10 genes associated with breast and/or ovarian cancer including:

  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • BARD1
  • ATM
  • CHEK2
  • PALB2
  • PTEN
  • TP53
  • FGFR2
  • TNRC9

Our breast cancer genetic testing includes the above genes because they are known to be related to breast cancer, as identified by the National Cancer Institute. 

The results you receive are the same results you’d receive from another DNA testing company, but instead, the cost is much less. At Sequencing.com, we believe people shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to learn about their genetics. Reach out to our support for any questions you may have about our clinical-grade Ultimate Genome Sequencing service or read more about our DNA tests for breast cancer genetic testing.

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