A startup is developing a cheaper, easier way of determining whether women are genetically at risk for breast cancer, in a move that could revolutionize the way women are currently screened for the disease.
Currently, genetic testing for breast cancer risk is expensive and usually reserved for women who have a family history of the disease. But the startup Color Genomics is offering a saliva test that would cost only $249, about one-tenth the cost of many other genetic screens for breast cancer, the New York Times reports.
The saliva test analyzes BRCA1 and BRCA2, the two primary genes where mutations increase breast cancer risk, along with 17 other genes. Elad Gil, chief executive of Color Genomics, said he wants to “democratize access to genetic testing” and that the low cost of the saliva test means women could pay out of pocket if their insurance company did not cover the test.
Still, there are concerns. Some experts worry that the low cost of the test may not include a full analysis, and others raised concerns that greatly expanding the number of women tested could create confusion for those whose test results are unclear.