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Coverage for Cancer Testing

Japan's public health insurance system will now cover genetic tests to help guide treatment for some cancer patients, the Japan Times reports.

Last December, Japan's Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry approved approaches to profile gene mutations within tumor samples from cancer patients, it notes, adding that some of these systems are able to profile hundreds of genes. However, the Japan Times says that without insurance coverage, tests like those can run ¥560,000 ($5,100). But with coverage by the public health insurance system, the cost to patients would be about 10 percent to 30 percent of that, it adds.

Testing is to be available to patients with solid tumors who have not responded to surgery or drug treatments, pediatric cancer patients, and patients with rare cancers, according to the Japan Times. It adds that patients will also be asked to give consent for their anonymized results to be provided to a national cancer research center to help develop new treatments.