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Helping providers use genetics to help patient families

James Liu

One of the most beneficial aspects of clinical-grade genetic testing is its actionability. Testing results can help enable providers and patients to develop individualized screening and risk management plans to manage patient health. But it’s easy to forget how this information can also be valuable to patients’ families: first-degree relatives of those who test positive for a mutation have a 50% chance of having that same mutation, and the same elevated risk.

Providers have faced considerable challenges, however, when it comes to helping family members access this information (a process also known as cascade testing). Historically cost has been a primary barrier: testing can cost thousands of dollars. But there are other hurdles to overcome: relatives could be geographically dispersed, may not know the doctor who was involved in the original testing, and may not have time or the information needed to meet with a genetic counselor or to provide a sample.

Any of these challenges can derail cascade testing, which perhaps explains why so many people are unaware of their own mutations; it’s estimated that more than 90% of women with a BRCA mutation aren’t aware of their mutation and their resulting elevated risk.

So today we’re excited to announce a new process that makes it much easier for providers to help families benefit from clinical-grade genetic testing. Thanks to the generosity of the BRCA Foundation and private donors, Color’s Family Testing Program is able to offer qualifying patients and their first-degree family members the applicable Color test for just $50, rather than the normal $249.

The process is designed to make cascade testing as easy as possible for providers:

  • Accessible. Apply for any qualifying patient, even if the original testing wasn’t done by Color.
  • Comprehensive. Approved participants will receive either the Hereditary Cancer Test or Hereditary High Cholesterol Test, not just single site testing.
  • Flexible and convenient — Providers who want to facilitate testing for a patient’s family members can submit a valid report, and eligible relatives can choose to have their test ordered by their own physician or access an independent physician network to review their test request. Providers who want to get their own patient tested can submit a valid report of a first-degree relative and then be the ordering physician for their patient.

It takes a community to #BeatCancer: patients, providers, family members, researchers, support organizations and more. With today’s launch, we’re excited to make it easier for some crucial members of this community help patients and their families learn how their genes can impact their health.

If you’re a healthcare provider interested in this new program, just create or sign into your Color Provider Platform account today or contact to learn more.