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Sanford Health Plan Covers Genetic Testing for Women Enrolled in Breast Cancer Trial

May 29, 2020 09:08AM ● By MED Magazine

Sanford Health Plan is now covering the costs of risk assessments and genetic testing for some women enrolled in a research study at Sanford Health that might help women determine how they should be screened for breast cancer based on their personal history.

Since November 2017, Edith Sanford Breast Center, part of Sanford Health, has teamed up with other members of the Athena Breast Health Network to conduct the Women Informed to Screen Depending On Measures of risk Study, or WISDOM Study. This five-year study is focused on determining if more personalized approaches lead to better outcomes than traditional screening methods.

In May, Sanford Health Plan began covering the cost of genetic testing, assessments and other expenses associated with the WISDOM Study for its members who are enrolled in the study and are asked to be tested.

“As an innovator in care and disease management coordination and benefits, Sanford Health Plan is excited to help our members be involved in new ways to gather information that will help them and their providers make decisions about their care,” said John Snyder, president of Sanford Health Plan. “Covering the costs of genetic testing is one way to do that.”

The WISDOM Study aims to discover the best course of action to both catch breast cancer early and also avoid false alarms and unnecessary biopsies for women. Study organizers hope to reach a wide and diverse group of women to participate. Currently 26,909 have joined the study, with a goal of 100,000 total participants. As part of the study, women in the risk-based group are assessed using a combination of personal history, family history, breast density and genetic testing.

Drs. Andrea Kaster and Melinda Talley of Sanford are two of the 10 investigators conducting the study, along with breast cancer experts, health care providers, researchers and patient advocates from Sanford and across the country.

“With so many recommendations for breast cancer screening out there, it can be hard for patients and providers to know what the right approach is for them,” said Dr. Kaster. “Clinical studies like WISDOM help us use the latest in imaging and genetics along with a patient’s personal history to determine how best to screen women for breast cancer. Through this study, I hope that we will be able to contribute to developing a more personalized approach to breast cancer screening.”

To learn more about the WISDOM Study at Edith Sanford Breast Center, visit edith.sanfordhealth.org/research/wisdom. To learn more about Sanford Health Plan visit Sanfordhealthplan.org.