Sydney Cancer Genetics can now offer “bulk billed” BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing in ovarian cancer

Sydney Cancer Genetics can now offer “bulk billed” BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing to ALL women diagnosed with high grade serous ovarian cancer, regardless of current age, family history or treatment stage!

AstraZeneca, the company that makes Lynparza (Olaparib) that is used to treat ovarian cancer, has generously offered to fund this testing for women with high grade serous ovarian cancer who may have missed out on publicly funded genetic testing.  And, if you live in rural or regional Australia, even your appointment, with Dr High via Telehealth is bulk billed. See the AstraZeneca Ovarian Cancer BRCA testing initiative flyer for more details.

Women with high grade, epithelial, non mucinous ovarian cancer diagnosed at or before age 70 are currently eligible for publicly funded genetic testing (see However, to access this testing, the woman must be seen in a public familial cancer clinic (usually based in a capital city and sometimes with significant wait lists) or pay the full cost of testing herself (often over $1000).

Some women with ovarian cancer found it all too hard to deal with at the time of their diagnosis. Others, who may have been told they weren’t eligible (the cut off used to be 60 years) may not have been notified by the clinic that the guidelines have changed.

To redress this AstraZeneca has offered to cover the cost of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing for women with high grade ovarian cancer, regardless of how old they were when they were diagnosed, how old they are now, what family history they have or even whether they are currently on treatment or are in remission.

The offer exists until at least December 2016 and is being offered in conjunction with genetic counselling via a centralised scheme.

That is, there is now no out of pocket cost for the BRCA germline genetic test for women seen by Dr Hilda High at Sydney Cancer Genetics if they have had a high grade serous ovarian cancer.

And, as Sydney Cancer Genetics bulk bills TeleHealth consults to rural and regional Australia, for many women there is no out of pocket cost for the consult either.

Why get tested if you are now in remission?
We know that around 20% of women with a high grade serous ovarian cancer carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation that was responsible for their cancer and that could been passed on to their brothers and sisters as well as their children (whether sons or daughters). BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women and breast and prostate cancer in men.

Finding a mutation allows family members to have predictive genetic testing (at a cost of around $250 in the private setting). Individuals who have inherited the mutation can do much to reduce their cancer risk including accessing publicly funded breast MRIs from age 30.

Just as importantly, individuals who haven’t inherited the mutation are likely to be at the same level of risk as the general population and don’t need to start breast screening until age 50. Moreover, these individual, having not inherited the familial BRCA mutation, can’t pass the familial BRCA mutation on to their children.

If you or your relative want more information or would like to make an appointment, please email us at or call on (02) 8964 9977.

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