FAQs

What is the grant eligibility?

Be at moderate to high risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer.

AND

Be experiencing financial hardship

Health Care Card

Hold a Health Care Card demonstrating financial hardship.

Individual Hardship Circumstances

If you don’t hold a Health Care Card but are experiencing financial strain (inability to afford current private genetic testing prices) please describe this in the application form, for example single parent family, low income family, financial hardship due to health conditions. Please also provide any supporting information (this isn’t essential but helps us assess an application), for example any benefits being received by the Department of Human Services. These applications will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

I am part of kConFab is the Color Genomics genetic test useful for me?

If you and your family are part of kConFab the blood sample/s provided to kConFab have already been tested for a panel of gene mutations - one that is larger than the 30 panel Color Genomics genetic test.

When is the deadline to submit a grant?

Grant applications are ongoing. There is no closing date at this stage. This is a new program so will be evaluated after 3 months to determine its future. People are encouraged to submit their grant applications as soon as possible.

I have had cancer can I apply?

Yes, those who have had a cancer diagnosis and those who haven’t are eligible to apply for the grant. If you have a cancer diagnosis you are encouraged to speak to your healthcare team about genetic testing and if this would be recommended, and if so, access to free testing through the public health system.

How do I know if I’m at moderate to high risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer?

You may find it helpful to learn a bit more about your risk prior to seeing your GP. The Pink Hope Know Your Risk tool enables women to assess their risk of breast and ovarian cancer based on their family health history. The assessments produced by this tool also provide suggested next steps and contact organisations. Discussing your assessment with your GP is encouraged to help you learn more about your risk and if seeing a Genetic Counsellor would be helpful. You may also find it useful to access the Ask Our Genetic Counsellor program which enables you to submit questions relating to your family history, genetics and genetic testing.

The following programs and resources are for patients and can be found on the Pink Hope website.

To be eligible for the grant you need to be at moderate to high risk so it is important to ascertain this prior to applying for the grant

Should I be considering genetic testing?

There are features of a hereditary cause for a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Below are a list of factors that can affect your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

These include:

  • whether a relative is already known to have had a mutation found on a genetic testthe number of close relatives who have had breast or ovarian cancer,
  • a relative with certain types of breast or ovarian cancer (for further information see below)
  • a relative with cancers occurring at young ages (e.g. before age 40 years for breast or before age 50 for ovarian cancer)
  • Relatives with cancer in both breasts
  • Male relatives with breast cancer
  • A relative who has had both breast and ovarian cancer
  • An ethnic background from a population where some mutations are more common e.g. Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry

Certain types of breast or ovarian cancer can also have an impact.

For further information see Researching Your Family History on the Pink Hope website.

To start the process of assessing your risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer based on your family history complete the Pink Hope Know Your Risk Tool

Should I be considering self funded genetic testing?

In some situations, people may wish to fund the cost of gene testing. This is best done after speaking with a doctor or a Family Cancer Clinic. It is important to understand the chance a hereditary gene mutation causes a family history of cancer, the outcomes and potential limitations of gene testing in your particular situation.

Where do I get genetic counselling?

Assessing and understanding your risk of breast and ovarian cancer is essential in helping to determine if genetic testing would be useful for you. A Genetic Counsellor, is able to provide information about genetics and inheritance, genetic testing (where appropriate), calculation of an individual’s cancer risk based on their family health history and/or genetic test results and a cancer risk management plan which may include screening, risk reducing medication and/or preventative surgery. Your GP can refer you to see a Genetic Counsellor:

See here for a list of Public Family Cancer Clinics and Private Cancer Genetic Service Providers. The cost to see a Genetic Counsellor at a Public Family Cancer Clinic is covered by Medicare. Some private cancer genetic services may bulk bill through tele-health.

How do I find out about Health Care Cards?

The Australian Government Department of Human Services on behalf of the Department of Social Services issues Health Care Cards. More information can be found on the Department of Human Services website People holding Health Care Cards do so because they are experiencing financial hardship.

What does the grant cover?

The grant provides 50% off genetic testing costs with Color Genomics. The cost per test is $400AUD. Under the Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant Program $200AUD grants are available, to those who meet the criteria, reducing the cost of the test to $200AUD. These costs including postage and shipping.

Is the grant a cash payment?

No, you will not be given cash but rather a unique code to purchase the genetic test through the Color Genomics website

When will the grant system be open?

The grant system will open 31 October 2016 on the website yourrisk.com.au.

How do I apply for a grant?

From 31 October 2016 onwards you will be able to apply for a grant with your healthcare professional at yourrisk.com.au.

What documentation does my healthcare provider need to supply with the grant application?

Your healthcare provider needs to provide a letter confirming you are at moderate to high risk of breast and ovarian cancer with a summary of why this is the case. The full risk assessment is not required. The layout would be similar to a referral letter.

How long will it take for me to hear if my grant application has been successful?

Pink Hope aims to respond to your grant application within 10 working days from receipt of a full and complete application.

Why must I apply for a grant with my healthcare professional?

Genetic counselling is essential for anyone considering and undertaking genetic testing therefore it is important that they are part of the grant application process.

Genetic testing isn’t suitable or recommended for everyone and your healthcare provider is the best person to provide a cancer risk assessment and discuss the option of genetic testing.

Also your healthcare professional can confirm you have received an assessment regarding your breast and/or ovarian cancer risk and are at moderate to high risk and confirm that you wish to access self funded genetic testing and have had appropriate test counselling.

What does the gene test offered by Color Genomics cover?

The genetic test offered by Color Genomics is a 30 panel test and includes testing for the gene mutations; ATM, BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, EPCAM, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, NBN, PALB2, PMS2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, STK11, TP53. These gene mutations are associated with an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. For further details on the science of the test you can download.

Does the test provided by Color Genomics test for gene mutations related to other cancers?

The Color Test covers the following cancers:

Breast, Colorectal, Melanoma, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, Stomach, and Uterine.

It is important that you discuss with your healthcare provider, the one who is providing genetic counselling and genetic test counselling, the cancers and mutations that are being tested for by the Color Genomics Genetic Test and what this could mean for you before you decide to undergo genetic testing.

Is it a saliva or blood sample test?

The test requires a saliva sample from the patient which is then analysed by Color Genomics. For more information on how the test works.

For more information on the test and Color Genomics laboratory see www.getcolor.org.

How long does it take to get my genetic test results?

Within four to five weeks, the results are returned to the Genetic Counsellor or Healthcare Professional for them to discuss with the patient who was tested.

Where can I get more information on Color Genomics?

Color provides a physician-ordered, genetic testing at a lower than average cost, with the goal to expand physician-supported access to genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk to every person, everywhere.

For more information on the test and Color Genomics laboratory see www.getcolor.org.

Can you tell me how the program will work?

  • Patient seen by GC/HCP who provides genetic counselling to patient, patient elects to self funding testing. GC/HCP arranges consent. GC/HCP completes Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant application form with patient.
  • Pink Hope assesses eligibility for Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant
  • GC/HCP advised of grant outcome. If successful the patient is given a code to purchase the genetic test through Color Genomics
  • Patient purchases test and provides saliva sample to Color Genomics.
  • Color Genomics receives sample. Conducts test and issues report to requesting GC/HCP within four to five weeks.
  • GC/HCP arranges disclosure and genetic counselling of patient.

Note a GP may conduct the genetic counselling or refer a patient to a Genetic Counsellor at a Family Cancer Clinic (public system) or to see a Genetic Counsellor in their own practice (private system).

How common are gene mutations?

About 1 in 20 (5%) of women with breast cancer and about 1 in 7 (15%) of women with ovarian cancer, have an inherited mutation in a known high risk cancer gene, for example BRCA1 or BRCA2. Whilst many women with a mutation will also have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, although some won’t.

What is the public genetic test criteria?

Publically funded genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is available within the health system, to those at high risk and who meet certain criteria. A person being tested must have more than a 20% likelihood of a gene mutation or have a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer and have a 10% likelihood of a gene mutation, as assessed by a Genetic Counsellor.

Certain men and women are eligible for publically funded BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene testing such as

  • Women who have a diagnosis of a serous gynaecological cancer or ‘triple negative’ breast cancer diagnosed under age 50 are eligible for publically funded BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene testing irrespective of their family history of cancer.
  • Men and Women who have Jewish Ancestry and a family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Men and Women with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation are also eligible for publically funded BRCA gene testing.

For people who do not fit the criteria above, Family Cancer Clinics in Australia generally use a statistical algorithms known as BOADICEA or other similar tools to determine the chance that a specific family history of cancer is due to a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

What is the cost of self funded testing in Australia?

The cost of testing costs start from $800 depending on the type of testing performed. There is no Medicare or private health insurance rebates available for this testing in Australia.

What are the insurance implications in relation to genetic testing?

A family history of cancer and/or genetic testing in you or some of your close relatives can have an impact on the ability to obtain certain types of insurance such as life, disability, trauma and some business and bank loans. Private Health insurance is NOT affected by your family health history or genetic testing.

Insurance companies may make decisions such as not to cover you for the health issues you are at higher risk of, or increase the amount you need to pay for having the insurance in place. They do have to make reasonable decisions based on your risks and you can appeal to decisions if a decision is out of keeping with the risks posed by your family health history or genetic test results.

Insurances policies such as the minimum coverages which are attached to superannuation funds are usually not affected by a family history of cancer or genetic testing but you should always check the terms and conditions.

A fact sheet developed by NSW genetics education provides helpful information about this complex area and how to get more advice.

Where can I get more information on Barbells for Boobs?

Barbells for Boobs

Barbells for Boobs is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to ensuring everyone regardless of age, gender, income and insurance status has access to early detection services. They provide nationwide assistance to anyone with a breast concern and work with other organisations and facilities to fund early detection services.

Further information

What is the grant eligibility?

Be at moderate to high risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer.

AND

Be experiencing financial hardship

Health Care Card

Hold a Health Care Card demonstrating financial hardship.

Individual Hardship Circumstances

If you don’t hold a Health Care Card but are experiencing financial strain (inability to afford current private genetic testing prices) please describe this in the application form, for example single parent family, low income family, financial hardship due to health conditions. Please also provide any supporting information (this isn’t essential but helps us assess an application), for example any benefits being received by the Department of Human Services. These applications will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

My patient is part of kConFab is the Color Genomics genetic test useful for them?

If your patient and their family are part of kConFab the blood sample/s provided to kConFab has already been tested for a panel of gene mutations - one that is larger than the 30 panel Color Genomics genetic test.

When is the deadline to submit a grant?

Grant applications are ongoing. There is no closing date at this stage. This is a new program so will be evaluated after 3 months to determine its future. People are encouraged to submit their grant applications as soon as possible.

What does the grant cover?

The grant provides 50% off genetic testing costs with Color Genomics. The cost per test is $400AUD. Under the Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant Program $200AUD grants are available, to those who meet the criteria, reducing the cost of the test to $200AUD. These costs including postage and shipping.

I am a GP what tools are available to me to help me assess my patient’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer?

There are several tools available to a GP to use to assess a patient’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Two that a GP might find helpful are:

Familial Risk Assessment – Breast and Ovarian Cancer (FRA-BOC) is an on-line tool designed for use by health professionals such as general practitioners and nurses.

FRA-BOC:
  • Provides an estimation of the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, based on family history, for unaffected women i.e. those who have not had a diagnosis of breast cancer or epithelial ovarian cancer
  • Assists health professionals to reassure the majority of women who are at population risk, based on their family history
  • Identifies women who should be referred to a family cancer clinic for further assessment and advice
  • Covers most family history scenarios although it should be noted that not every scenario is able to be covered, for example, families where the family history of breast and ovarian cancer is unknown, families that are very small, or families which are predominantly male. For these women, a further individualised risk assessment may be appropriate.

For further information and to access FRABOC see here.

The IBIS tool (also called the Tyrer-Cuzick model) is used to calculate a person’s likelihood of carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which are associated with increased breast cancer risk. It estimates the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer in 10 years and over the course of her lifetime. The tool is used to help inform a person’s decision-making about genetic counselling and testing. The program assumes that there is a gene predisposing to breast cancer in addition to the BRCA genes. The woman's family history is used to calculate the likelihood of her carrying an adverse gene, which in turn affects her likelihood of developing breast cancer. The risks of developing breast cancer for the general population were taken from data on the first breast cancer diagnosis (ICD-10 code C50) in Thames Cancer Registry area (UK) between 2005-2009. The risk from family history (caused by the adverse genes) is modelled to fit the results in "Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer: A Swedish Population-based Register Study, Anderson H et al. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000, 152: 1154-1163".

http://www.ems-trials.org/riskevaluator/

As GP is there any professional support for me?

Color Genomics have genetic counsellors who are able to assist healthcare professionals, such as GPs, with interpreting test results and how to communicate test results to patients. For further information see the Genetic Counselling section on this page.

How can a patient see a Genetic Counsellor?

For a patient to determine if genetic testing would be useful for them they need to have a risk assessment and to understand their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. A Genetic Counsellor, is able to provide information about genetics and inheritance, genetic testing (where appropriate), calculation of an individual’s cancer risk based on their family health history and/or genetic test results and a cancer risk management plan which may include screening, risk reducing medication and/or preventative surgery. A GP can refer a patient to see a Genetic Counsellor:

See here for a list of Public Family Cancer Clinics and Private Cancer Genetic Service Providers. The cost to see a Genetic Counsellor at a Public Family Cancer Clinic is covered by Medicare. Some private cancer genetic services may bulk bill through tele-health.

Does my patient meet the publicly funded genetic testing criteria?

The eviQ Cancer Treatments Online website (www.eviq.org.au) is available to all health care professionals where they can access the approved national guidelines for the assessment and management of women with a family history of cancer, including eligibility for genetic testing

What documentation do I need to supply with the grant application?

The healthcare provider needs to provide a letter confirming the patient is at moderate to high risk of breast and ovarian cancer with a summary of why this is the case. The full risk assessment is not required. The layout would be similar to a referral letter.

Why must I apply for a grant with my patient?

Genetic counselling is essential for anyone considering and undertaking genetic testing therefore it is important that you as a healthcare professional are part of the grant application process. Genetic testing isn’t suitable or recommended for everyone and as a healthcare provider you are the best person to provide a cancer risk assessment and discuss the option of genetic testing.

Also you can confirm that your patient has received an assessment regarding their breast and/or ovarian cancer risk and are at moderate to high risk and confirm that they wish to access self funded genetic testing and have had appropriate test counselling

What does the gene test offered by Color Genomics cover?

The genetic test offered by Color Genomics is a 30 panel test and includes testing for the gene mutations; ATM, BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, EPCAM, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, NBN, PALB2, PMS2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, STK11, TP53. These gene mutations are associated with an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. For further details on the science of the test you can download.

Does the test provided by Color Genomics test for gene mutations related to other cancers?

The Color Test covers the following cancers:

Breast, Colorectal, Melanoma, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, Stomach, and Uterine.

It is important that you discuss with your patient as part of the genetic counselling and genetic test counselling the cancers and mutations that are being tested for by the Color Genomics Genetic Test and what this could mean for them before they decide to undergo genetic testing.

Is it a saliva or blood sample test?

The test requires a saliva sample from the patient which is then analysed by Color Genomics. For more information on how the test works, visit https://getcolor.com/kit/how-it-works

For more information on the test and Color Genomics laboratory see www.getcolor.org.

Where can I get more information on Color Genomics?

Color provides a physician-ordered, genetic testing at a lower than average cost, with the goal to expand physician-supported access to genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk to every person, everywhere.

For more information on the test and Color Genomics laboratory see www.getcolor.org.

Can you tell me how the program will work?

  • Patient seen by GC/HCP who provides genetic counselling to patient, patient elects to self funding testing. GC/HCP arranges consent. GC/HCP completes Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant application form with patient.
  • Pink Hope assesses eligibility for Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant
  • GC/HCP advised of grant outcome. If successful the patient is given a code to purchase the genetic test through Color Genomics
  • Patient purchases test and provides saliva sample to Color Genomics.
  • Color Genomics receives sample. Conducts test and issues report to requesting GC/HCP within four to five weeks.
  • GC/HCP arranges disclosure and genetic counselling of patient.

Note a GP may conduct the genetic counselling or refer a patient to a Genetic Counsellor at a Family Cancer Clinic (public system) or to see a Genetic Counsellor in their own practice (private system).

How do I access the genetic test results?

Color Genomics will notify you when the patient's results are ready if your patient has included your details (this is recommended) otherwise your patient will notify you and arrange an appointment to discuss the results.. For more information see the Color Genomics website here.

What is the public genetic test criteria?

Publically funded genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is available within the health system, to those at high risk and who meet certain criteria. A person being tested must have more than a 20% likelihood of a gene mutation or have a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer and have a 10% likelihood of a gene mutation, as assessed by a Genetic Counsellor. Certain men and women are eligible for publically funded BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene testing such as
  • Women who have a diagnosis of a serous gynaecological cancer or ‘triple negative’ breast cancer diagnosed under age 50 are eligible for publically funded BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene testing irrespective of their family history of cancer.
  • Men and Women who have Jewish Ancestry and a family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Men and Women with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation are also eligible for publically funded BRCA gene testing.

For people who do not fit the criteria above, Family Cancer Clinics in Australia generally use a statistical algorithms known as BOADICEA or other similar tools to determine the chance that a specific family history of cancer is due to a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

What is the cost of self funded testing in Australia?

The cost of testing costs start from $800 depending on the type of testing performed. There is no Medicare or private health insurance rebates available for this testing in Australia.

What are the insurance implications in relation to genetic testing?

A family history of cancer and/or genetic testing in you or some of your close relatives can have an impact on the ability to obtain certain types of insurance such as life, disability, trauma and some business and bank loans. Private Health insurance is NOT affected by your family health history or genetic testing. Insurance companies may make decisions such as not to cover you for the health issues you are at higher risk of, or increase the amount you need to pay for having the insurance in place. They do have to make reasonable decisions based on your risks and you can appeal to decisions if a decision is out of keeping with the risks posed by your family health history or genetic test results. Insurances policies such as the minimum coverages which are attached to superannuation funds are usually not affected by a family history of cancer or genetic testing but you should always check the terms and conditions.

A fact sheet developed by NSW genetics education provides helpful information about this complex area and how to get more advice.

Further information