Genetic tests for breast and ovarian cancer risk are expensive and can costs thousands of dollars. A new company called Color Genomics in California, USA, offers a saliva test kit that would cost $249 (Rs. 16,000), about one-tenth of many other genetic tests for cancer.
The test identifies the cancer risk genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as 17 other genes that may play a role in cancer development.
According to National Cancer Institute, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the mutated genes that account for 5 % to 10 % of all breast cancers and 15 % of all ovarian cancers.
Genetic testing for such mutated genes can cost $400 to $4,000 (Rs. 25,000 to 25,0000) in the US.
Carriers of BRCA1 have an 80 percent risk of developing breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Women with family histories of cancer are at high risk of developing cancer.
Color Genomics test will be available only through health care providers. The company has genetic counselors to help patients interpret their results.
Elad Gil, chief executive of Color Genomics, said, "We want to be able to democratize access. We want to be able to broaden access to this kind of testing because it is very important for women to able to understand their risk and work with their health care provider to create a plan around that."
The kit can be purchased online. Consumers would receive it in mail and return a saliva sample to Color Genomics. Sequencing the genes and processing the results would take about four to eight weeks, after which they can discuss their results with their health care providers.