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Testing for Free

Women in Australia with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer will be able to undergo genetic testing without charge, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It adds that the tests will be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule — a list of services subsidized by the Australian government — at the beginning of next month.

Previously, women who wanted to get tested had to be seen by a private specialist and spend between AUD $600 and $1,200 or wait more than a year to be seen at a public hospital, the Sydney Morning Herald adds.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia's Melody Caramins, who chairs genetics advisory committee, calls this a "huge milestone," according to the paper.

"If an individual is a carrier of a BRCA mutation, they will have additional treatments available to them," Caramins says in a statement. "This is certainly the case if they already have breast cancer, however if they don't have breast cancer, they will have access to monitoring and the possibility to take preventative measures such as a prophylactic mastectomy."