According to multiple outlets, a new bill in the Illinois state Senate would make it easier for individuals to learn their risk of getting cancer via genetic testing.

The legislation has bipartisan support, and passed unanimously through the state Senate Insurance Committee on March 12th. Now, it's headed to the floor. If it becomes law, there will be incredible benefits for countless people.

Should the bill be signed into law, insurance companies in Illinois would be required to cover genetic testing if the patient has a family history of cancer. This would cap out-of-pocket insurance costs at $50, per WGEM.

One of my closest friends, Nick Janowski, is a Certified Genetic Counselor at Mercyhealth in Rockford, IL. I reached out to him in lieu of this development to get his perspective on the bill:

Inherited cancer genetic testing is a consideration for all patients and families battling cancer. This bill will help reduce a significant barrier to patients pursuing cancer genetic testing. This bill will save lives because it will help more families be informed about their hereditary cancer risk. - Nick Janowski, per an email correspondence

Photo Credit: ktsimage
Photo Credit: ktsimage

Janowski also added that with the knowledge patients receive from accessible and affordable genetic testing, they'd be able to pursue preventative measures if they so choose:

Families at an increased risk may require close cancer surveillance and may pursue other preventative measures. Doing so will prevent cancers in family and identify cancers at earlier, more treatable stages. - Nick Janowski, per an email correspondence

Genetic testing can be done with such simple measures as a blood or saliva test, so it's a noninvasive procedure as it currently stands.

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Senator Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, is the bill's sponsor and also commented on the need for it to be passed into law:

This measure will increase early detection and improve prevention of all types of cancer. With this bill, we are moving the needle further in the right direction. - Senator Julie Morrison, per WGEM

Read more about Illinois potentially signing a bill into law that would make genetic testing more readily available to individuals on WGEM's website.

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