Emilia Romagna is the first region in Italy to implement the Decree of the Minister of Health of last 18 May which provides for the reimbursement of genomic tests for breast cancer. In fact, a resolution has been issued which makes these tests available free of charge for all patients who need them. It is estimated that there are over 800 women who will be able to take advantage of these fundamental tests in Emilia Romagna that can avoid the need for unnecessary chemotherapies. The tests will then also be provided to patients not resident in Emilia-Romagna, but assisted in the health facilities of the Region, as there is a mechanism for compensating the costs.
Breast cancer: every year 10,000 women in Italy will be able to access genomic tests
by Tiziana Moriconi
Who are genomic tests for
In women with early stage ‘hormonal’ (HR positive, HER2 negative) breast cancer, genomic tests can predict the risk of recurrence and thus help doctors understand when chemotherapy is needed and when it can be avoided, saving toxicity and costs. It is estimated that around 10 thousand women can benefit from these exams every year. The state has allocated a 20 million euro fund for genomic tests, but the regional transposition resolutions are an essential step for patients to actually access them.
Breast cancer and genomic testing: associations urge regions
“This is excellent news that we have been waiting for several months,” he comments Francesco Cognetti, President of the Together Against Cancer Foundation: “In this region, patients and clinical specialists will have at their disposal an effective tool for promoting therapeutic appropriateness free of charge. Full respect for the constitutional principle of equality among all citizens, even those affected by a very widespread form of cancer, is thus sanctioned. As a Foundation we have fought, together with the Scientific Societies and Patient Associations, to ensure that genomic tests are available throughout the country ”.
In Emilia Romagna it is estimated that every year there are more than 4,500 new breast cancer cases. “As has been amply demonstrated by numerous national and international studies, not all of these patients must receive chemotherapy treatment after a first surgery”, continues Cognetti: “For a non-negligible proportion of women, only hormonal therapy is sufficient and this allows us to reduce the use of a treatment that has severe side effects. To identify these patients, however, genomic testing is necessary, which can thus also determine important savings for the various regional health systems. Our hope is that the other Regions will follow the virtuous example of Emilia Romagna as soon as possible ”.