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Bills Introduced in Oklahoma Would Increase Access To Genetic Testing

Susan G. Komen® Commends Bill Introduction; Urges Quick Passage

OKLAHOMA CITY – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, applauds Senator Brenda Stanley (R-Midwest City) and Representative Nicole Miller (R- Edmond) for introducing legislation that would eliminate financial barriers to clinically appropriate genetic testing, as well as the recommended screenings based on the results of that testing.

In Oklahoma, more than 3,490 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 570 are expected to die of the disease in 2024 alone. In the U.S., 5-10% of breast cancers are related to a known inherited gene mutation. The lifetime risk of breast cancer increases 20-49% for women with moderate risk inherited gene mutations and 50% or more for women with high-risk inherited gene mutations.

SB 1264/HB 3677 introduced by Senator Brenda Stanley and Representative Nicole Miller, eliminates the patient out-of-pocket costs for multi-gene panel testing for inherited gene mutations and evidence-based screenings, ensuring individuals have access to critical information regarding their lifetime cancer risk and recommended early detection and cancer surveillance.

“Passage of this legislation will allow patients to better understand their lifetime cancer risk and access to needed risk reduction and treatment strategies,” said Molly Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “Everyone should have the vital information needed to make informed decisions about their healthcare without burdensome financial barriers.”

Germline testing is a type of test that looks for inherited mutations that have been present in every cell of the body since birth. These tests are conducted via the collection and analysis of blood, saliva or cheek cells. Identification of inherited cancer risk can help guide decisions regarding recommended screenings for the early detection of cancer, personalized cancer treatments and risk-reducing medical treatments.

“I am thrilled to join forces with Representative Nicole Miller to introduce legislation that removes financial obstacles to genetic testing and screenings. Breast cancer affects thousands in Oklahoma, and with this legislation, we aim to ensure that every individual has access to vital information about their cancer risk, without the burden of out-of-pocket costs,” said Sen. Stanley. “By eliminating financial barriers, we empower our constituents to make informed decisions about their health and enable early detection and prevention. This legislation is a significant step toward health equity, providing all Oklahomans with the opportunity to manage their cancer risk without the hindrance of financial constraints.”

Studies have shown an estimated 83 percent of eligible patients that underwent multigene panel testing had changes to their medical management, including modifications in follow-up and chemotherapy strategy.

“No one should be left in the dark when it comes to their well-being,” said Rep. Miller. “House Bill 3677 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 1264, would remove financial barriers to multi-gene panel testing and evidence-based screenings. By increasing the likelihood of early detection, we can empower more Oklahomans with the vital information they need to make the best-informed decisions about their healthcare and maintain a little more control in very uncontrollable circumstances.”

According to a 2020 American Association for Cancer Research Report, 65% of young white women with breast cancer were offered genetic testing, while only 36% of young Black women with breast cancer were offered the same test options. Additional studies show that minority patients were more likely to utilize genetic testing following a cancer diagnosis but less likely following a family history of cancer, resulting in a missed opportunity for mutation detection and cancer prevention for these patients.