Genetic Testing Grant
We know that not everyone who has risk factors in their family qualifies for publicly funded genetic testing. If they do it can often take a long time to access testing. Choosing to have it done privately can be costly. That’s why we’re offering a grant to help make genetic testing more accessible and faster.
With sponsorship from SHEIN, we can offer 50 people FREE genetic testing and counselling for an expanded gene panel which not only focuses on the common genetic causes of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer but includes a total of 65 genes that are known to increase the risk of the most common heritable cancers.
We are partnering with Eugene who are an Australian-founded company that provides accessible end-to-end care for all people to enable them to make proactive choices about their health. Working with an internationally accredited laboratory, they ensure you get timely access to the testing and support you need to make informed decisions about your own healthcare. We know that genetic testing is expensive - the value of this opportunity is $795AUD.
We wish we could help everyone, however, we have a limited number of places in the grant program. We want to work with you to help support as many people as possible to access care that is most appropriate for them. Please note this grant program is designed to give access to genetic screening for those who are not eligible for Medicare funded testing. For those who are not able to access testing through this program - Eugene welcome’s any requests via there website
How does the Pink Hope Genetic Testing Grant program work?
We wish we could help everyone, however, we have a limited number of places in the grant program. We want to work with you to help support as many people as possible to access care that is most appropriate for them. To express your interest in free genetic testing and counselling, please complete the below form.
What is the eligibility criteria for this grant?
- Participants will be over the age of 18 years and be able to make an informed decision
- Participants can live anywhere in Australia and New Zealand - if interpreters are required we can facilitate this.
- Participants will have a family history of cancer
Your expression of interest will be assessed based on how you meet the above criteria and the appropriateness of this test for your particular situation or history.
Please note this grant program is designed to give access to genetic screening for those who are not eligible for Medicare funded testing.
If you have a current diagnosis of cancer or already have a gene variant in the family there is likely a more appropriate genetic test available, such a diagnostic or predictive genetic testing, which may be funded by Medicare. If it’s likely you are eligible for Medicare funded testing, please reach out to Pink Hope who can help navigate your care options and pathways to these.
What is the test that is being funded?
The funded test is a proactive screening test for 65 genes that are known to be associated with an increased risk of cancer. It is important to be aware that this is a screening test, meaning that it is designed to predict your chances of developing cancer and help reduce your risk. The Eugene team will support you to understand your options for proactive surveillance based on the results and ensure you have access to the relevant healthcare professionals.
You may not know, but there are in fact different types of genetic tests that provide different types of information: diagnostic, proactive and predictive genetic testing. This is because there are many different ways to look at our genes.
For example, when there is a known predisposition to cancer in your family due to a genetic variation - we want to focus on this as you can get a clear yes/no answer about your own risk. This is called predictive genetic testing.
When you have a personal and/or strong family history that is suggestive of a genetic condition but no known genetic variant - the advice we give you is more informed by your personal or family history. This is called diagnostic genetic testing.
If you have no personal or significant family history of cancer - the results can be very reassuring as you are now considered to be a lower risk than someone in the general population. This is proactive genetic testing.
As this is a proactive screening test, it cannot be used to diagnose the cause of cancer. If you have a diagnosis of a specific cancer, have had genetic testing or already have a gene variant identified in your family, there may be more appropriate, medicare funded testing available to you, such as diagnostic or predictive genetic testing.
If you are unsure please contact us to discuss.
Could I be at risk of carrying a gene variant that puts me at higher risk of developing cancer?
This test is designed to identify individuals who have inherited a gene variant that may be associated with an increased risk of cancer. Those who have a family history of specific cancers (such as breast, ovarian or prostate cancer) may be at higher risk of developing cancer than the general population. For more information read here.
What type of gene variant does this test include?
A list of genes covered under our Genetic Testing Program can be found here.
It is important to remember that we all carry variants in the genes that we inherit from our parents - they're what make us unique. In most cases, they are benign and are no cause for concern - for instance in genes that determine eye colour or height. However, if a pathogenic (disease-causing) variant is inherited in a gene that is important for bodily function, it can increase the chance of developing a disease related to that function, such as cancer.
Having a variant in a cancer risk gene is called having an inherited predisposition to cancer. Different gene variants lead to vulnerability to cancer in specific parts of the body. It is important to understand if you have an inherited predisposition to developing cancer, because there are actions you can take to manage this risk.
The results reported on in this test include gene variants that are known to be disease-causing. As mentioned, we all have thousands of changes in our genes, known as variants, many of which are harmless. While we know a significant amount about those that affect the function of genes, which can lead to an increased risk of cancer (pathogenic variants) there are some variants where there is not enough research or evidence to understand how they affect the gene (Variants of Unknown Significance - VUS). As this genetic test is a proactive screening test, only the variants that are known to be associated with an increased risk of cancer will be reported.
How long does it take?
You will be notified within 2 weeks of applying if your application is successful or not. You will then receive an email from Eugene with a unique discount code that can be used at checkout at www.eugenelabs.com. You will then book a pre-test appointment with a genetic counsellor to discuss the test and your family history.
All care is delivered virtually and you’ll be sent a non-invasive saliva collection kit to your home. It takes approximately 4-6 weeks for a genetic test result to be completed. Once completed, you’ll be able to book in for a virtual consult with one of Eugene’s genetic counsellors to receive your result.
What happens next if I carry a gene variant?
If your result shows that you carry a gene variant, Eugene will provide you with a genetic counselling session to discuss your results. You will then be referred to a local high-risk screening program or Familial Cancer Clinic to best suit your situation. Pink Hope has online support groups and resources and can provide you with plenty of information to help.
Where can I find out more information about genetic testing and understanding my risk of cancer?
Pink Hope has a wealth of evidence-based resources and information to help support you?
- Know your risk
- Reduce your risk
- Genetic mutations
- Genetic testing
- Online resources for high risk women
Can testing impact insurance?
In some cases this test could impact your ability to get life, income protection insurance or other insurances.
Not impacted —
- Your ability to get health insurance.
- Your existing life and/or income protection cover. However, if you want to take out cover or change your existing policy, this test may have an impact.
- Life and other insurances through super that are group policies and don't take into account personal medical history. If your result doesn't identify a gene variation then your insurance shouldn't be impacted.
Could have an impact —
- If you want to take out new cover or change your existing policy.
- Policies that do consider your medical history - known as underwriting, or risk-rating - above certain coverage amounts (currently $500,000 for life insurance). If a gene variation that increases your risk of cancer is identified before you have taken out cover, you may be denied cover or have to pay a higher premium or have policy exclusions for that insurance product.
For more information about how life and other insurance products may be impacted by genetic testing, visit the Financial Services Council or the Centre for Genetics Education websites.
What happens next if I carry a gene variant?
If your result shows that you carry a gene variant associated with an increased risk of cancer, Eugene will provide you with a genetic counselling session to discuss your results. You will then be referred to a local high-risk screening program or Familial Cancer Clinic to best suit your situation. Pink Hope has online support groups and resources and can provide you with plenty of information to help.
Are there possible implications for my family members?
If you have an inherited gene variant, then you will almost certainly have inherited this from one of your parents. This is important, because your result from this test could impact your family as well.
- If you do have a gene variation, there's a 50% chance you'll pass the copy of the gene with the variation to your children (and a 50% chance you'll pass on the copy without the variation).
- There's also a 50% chance that any of your siblings also has this gene variation.
- Depending on whether you've inherited the variation from your mum or your dad, they will also be at increased risk of developing cancer. Your aunts, uncles, grandparents or cousins could also carry this variation and be at risk.
Eugene encourages discussion about plans for testing with family, so they're aware of the impact the result may have on them. If you are found to carry a gene variant, your genetic counsellor will support you to start a conversation with your family members about their risk and the availability of testing for them.
What does a negative result mean?
If no gene variant is identified, Eugene will provide you with recommendations based on your family history and possibly recommend you are referred to a local high-risk screening program or Familial Cancer Clinic to discuss more specific recommendations.
The panel targets 65 hereditary cancer syndromes and it’s important to note this is not an exhaustive list and there many unique genes and family variants. If you are referred to a local high-risk screening program or Familial Cancer Clinic you may be offered different or more extensive genetic testing if you personal and/or family history is indicative of a potential gene or variant.