Free Genetic Testing and Counseling

Hellenic Association of Women with Breast Cancer “Alma Zois”, in collaboration with NCSR Demokritos, conducts free genetic testing and counseling for women who have already experienced breast cancer and meet the program’s medical criteria.

The program is oriented towards women with breast cancer and is funded by the net revenues of Greece Race for the Cure®.

Through the program, women with breast cancer experience can have free genetic testing for any gene mutation that can cause breast or ovarian cancer.
The program is provided to Association’s members who meet the necessary medical criteria free of charge.

Priority is given to unemployed women and women with annual income less than 12.000€.

Nowadays, genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation – genes that are related to breast cancer- is rare due to high cost, which reaches 2.000€) and due to the fact that insurance funds does not cover the cost as well.

In addition, the interdisciplinary group of genetic counseling (geneticist or molecular biologist, psychologist, oncologist) designated by the international scientific community is absent in the examination centers.


Benefits from Genetic Testing and Counseling Program

Through the program Association’s members:

  • Get informed about genetic testing and its importance
  • If they meet specific criteria, they make an appointment with a geneticist where a detailed medical history is drawn
  • Have counseling with psychologist to look into their motivation and their psychological condition, as well as to assess how to manage the possible outcomes
  • Women who meet the criteria get the genetic testing free of charge
  • 3 family members of women who are found to be positive in genetic testing will be given the opportunity to have the test free of charge After the result’s announcement women have a final session with the Association’s psychologist

Through the program we manage to:

  • Help women with breast cancer who meets the criteria for genetic testing to make the best decision for themselves (either by doing or not the test)
  • Cover test’s cost
  • Regulate test’s results and emotions that follow a positive result
  • Provide counseling / psychological support both to women and her family
  • Provide the best treatment options in case of a positive result


About Genetic Testing and Counseling

1.What is genetic testing and why is important?

Primarily, Genetic testing and counseling is a detailed medical history (3 generations long) in families with breast, ovarian or other type of cancer background.
Afterwards, genetic material is isolated from blood sample, in order that genes to be tested.
Genetic Testing is important to be done so that to determine if there is an explicit heredity regarding the specific type of cancer.
In other words, through genetic testing it is determined if children have inherited a mutation in any of the above genes from their parents. In addition, this information is important for both patients and their relatives.

2.To whom is it addressed?

The program is addressed to women with breast cancer experience who have breast, ovarian or other type of cancer history in their family. In addition, it is addressed to women who had experienced breast cancer before their forties, without a family cancer history.

3. What does a positive result mean for a woman who already had breast cancer?

A positive result for a woman who already had been diagnosed with breast cancer mean that:

  • She has inherited this diathesis from her parents
  • She has an additional important information to share with her oncologist, such as receptors and HER2
  • There is an increased chance to recrudesce cancer in the other breast or perhaps in the ovaries
  • If she has children (or other relatives) and in particular daughters, she may know which one has inherited the gene mutation that can cause breast or ovarian cancer
  • She has an important piece of information on hand that could help her overcome the problem

4.What criteria should a woman with breast cancer meet in order to undergo genetic testing and counseling?

Every Association’s member may undergo genetic testing and counselling if she meets one of the below:

  • She was diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40, without family history in breast cancer or
  • Three (3) of her first or second-degree relatives had primary breast / ovarian cancer under the age of 60 (the examinee should have had breast cancer) or
  • There was at least two (2) breast cancer incidents within her family and in addition at least one of them should had been (a) under the age of 40 or (b) to a male or
  • She was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer or had a second breast cancer diagnosis under the age of 50 or
  • She was diagnosed with a triple negative breast cancer under the age of 60.

Diagnosis should be confirmed by the corresponding histological report.

Fulfilling the above conditions is a prerequisite for applying but does not involve covering genetic testing’s cost.


Genetic Testing and Counseling program 2019

Genetic Testing and Counseling program is conducted in collaboration with NCSR Demokritos.
The program is provided to Association’s members who meet the necessary medical criteria free of charge.

Priority will be given to women with annual income less than 12.000€.

Applications will be accepted from January 8th to February 28th, 2019.

Application’s assessment will take place in March 2019.


Applying for Genetic Testing and Counseling Program

Step 1: Call 210 41 80 006 so that you apply for genetic testing and counseling

Step 2: Program’s manager will contact you to let you know about your appointment with the geneticist

Step 3: Scientists from the collaborating laboratories will make a risk assessment through a half-hour interview. This assessment is made through a detailed recording of patient’s family history. Patients should know sex, age and possible diseases that have occurred in their wider family (all their siblings, children, all their parent’s siblings and all of their children). In addition, information about grandparents is very useful.
Furthermore, breast or other type of cancer patient’s biopsy results will be need, as far as they exist. Particularly, awareness of ER, PR and HER2 receptors status is very important.

Step 4: Suited patients will be selected to make Genetic Testing and Analysis of all genes who shows diathesis to breast or ovarian cancer (including at least BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, CDH1, TP53, STK11, PTEN, ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, RAD51C, RAD51D). Analysis should also include gene rearrangements.
Depending on family medical history, other genes may be analyzed.
Only patients will take the test in the first place and, consequently, healthy relatives could also be tested if they wish to. The family member, who will have the initial genetic testing, will be selected after an interview with age of appearance and disease’s general characteristics criteria.

Step 5: As long as you meet the criteria and you are invited to undergo genetic testing, you will be asked to forward your doctor’s medical release that establishes the need for you to take the test.

Step 6: Afterwards, you have counseling with Association’s psychologist in Athens to discuss both importance and regulation of test’s results. Counseling is prerequisite for sending blood sample.

Step 7: You sign a written participant consent form.

Step 8: You can send a blood sample following consultation with collaborating laboratory.

Step 9: Results will be given to patients within two months after laboratory receive blood sample. Result’s announcement will take place in a counseling session with a Genetic Adviser, where different ways to use the results properly will be discussed. In addition, oral announcement is accompanied by a written report, which patients should share with their oncologist.

Step 10: If a pathogenic mutation is identified, then, in addition to patient’s genetic counseling and genetic analysis, three (3) of her family members can also undergo genetic testing and analysis free of charge.
If no mutation is detected, no other family member will be examined.

Step 11: Result’s announcement follows one last counseling session with the Association’s psychologist.

All personal data, as well as genetic testing results will remain confidential!