Testing for breast cancer gene costly for some women
WHEN Angelina Jolie announced to the world she had undergone a double mastectomy it sent shockwaves through most women.
She described why she chose to have both her breasts removed in a bid to save her from contracting breast cancer later in life.
However, what most people may not know is the costs involved in having a gene test, which is what Jolie had to find out she was positive to the BRCA 1 gene.
Nyrie Contor, of Mackay, who was diagnosed with gestational breast cancer when she was pregnant with her twins at 28 weeks, said she was now facing a bill of $2000 to have the test completed.
"When I researched my family history I didn't have first degree relatives with breast cancer," Mrs Contor said.
"So that put me in a category that I wasn't eligible to have a free test to see if I had to BRCA.
"When I did research, I found at least five of my second degree family members. So I have to pay $2000. I'd like to know if I have the mutant gene because I will have a double mastectomy done down the track."
Mrs Contor said the cost of the test was disappointing.
"Angelina Jolie made a bold decision," she said.
"She said a lot of women can't afford the test as they are from middle income or lower income countries or work brackets. People do think it's free but only if you're in the high risk category or have the triple negative cancer, which is rare."
Meanwhile, Karla Steen, who suffered from ductal carcinoma in situ and had one mastectomy, said help was available for women unsure of their options.
"Making decisions in regards to surgery, there's a lot of places to turn to and there are some good support groups in Mackay," Ms Steen said.
"Every case is individual and not everyone will have to have a mastectomy. There are a range of different treatments."
Would you have a double mastectomy if you found out you had the BRCA 1 gene?
This poll ended on 17 May 2013.
Without a doubt
No, I don't think I could go through with it
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.