Cancer patients react to SSI that does not cover genetic testing fees
Cancer patients and their relatives react to SSI, which does not cover genetic testing fees. Cancer patients and their relatives, who rebelled against the non-payment of the tests performed to determine whether they are under the threat of a genetic disease or not, state that SGK should pay for all tests that concern human health. According to the news of Erol Akkır, 39-year-old Nazan Özçelik, who was diagnosed with colon cancer four months ago, told that she had surgery 18 days after the diagnosis and now undergoes chemotherapy every 14 days.
Özçelik stated that while filling out the patient form, they were asked whether there were other cancer patients in the family and the stage of diagnosis, and said, “I replied, ‘I have first-degree relatives in my family who have cancer.’ Then my doctor said that I should have a genetic test. Then I went to Antalya Genetic Diseases Diagnosis Center. We wanted to know what the risks were as a result of the tests of my 2 sons. However, we learned that the test fees for the diagnosis must be paid by us. We thought that these tests would be free of charge, since we are SGK members as a family.”
WHEN THE DISEASE IS AT THE DOOR, THE TREATMENT IS MORE EXPENSIVE
Noting that those who have no SSI, all their health expenses are covered by the state, Nazan Özçelik said that they could not make sense of being asked for a test fee and said, “I want all gene tests to be covered by SSI. However, in this case, we will have our tests done and take precautions to ensure that our children have a healthier future. Otherwise, he will not be able to learn whether the disease is genetic or not, and when the disease comes to the door, it will cost the state much more.”
HOW MUCH ARE THE TEST PRICES?
BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 tests, which only determine the genetic transition in breast cancer and came to the fore with Angelina Jolie’s having it done last year, are performed at Istanbul University Oncology Institute. Women who are affiliated with the Social Security Institution (SGK) and diagnosed with breast cancer are not charged for the tests. A kit fee of 500 TL is collected from the relatives of SGK patients diagnosed with breast cancer. The amount that women who do not have breast cancer in any of their relatives have to pay for this test is 4.500 TL, even if they have SSI. Tests can also be performed in some private university hospitals and private laboratories.
I WANT TO KNOW IF I WILL BE SICK
Hakan Kavuncu, who works as a consultant in the Foreigners Department of the Ministry of Interior, stated that his father, 78-year-old Yalçın Kavuncu, has lung cancer, has been in the hospital for 11 months, and realized that while dealing with his father’s treatment, his close relatives were also struggling with various cancer diseases. Stating that he learned that cancer is genetic in his lineage, Hakan Kavuncu said:
GENETIC TESTING CAN PREVENT DISEASE EXPENSE
“I learned from a relative that there is Antalya Genetic Diseases Diagnosis Center. During my meeting with the center officials, I wanted to have tests that are vital for human beings. But when I heard about test fees, I decided to give it some thought. Because the tests cost a lot of money even if they were charged at the cost. In my later research, I learned that such tests are paid for by health insurance in foreign countries. I asked my friends and officials of the subject why it is not covered by SSI in Turkey. As a relative of a cancer patient, I want these tests to be done free of charge. Thus, it is ensured that many genetic disease candidates get information about their future and create a lifestyle accordingly. The state can delay the disease with less spending.”
NO TREATMENT WITHOUT DIAGNOSIS
Pediatric Hematology and Genetics Specialist Prof. Dr. Duran Canatan said that molecular testing is an indispensable element in the treatment of genetic diseases as well as in the diagnosis. prof. Dr. Canatan stated that with the measures to be taken as a result of molecular tests, millions of liras of drug money going abroad for the treatment of genetic diseases will be brought to the country’s economy. Noting that SSI, which does not allow free identification of genetic diseases that can be detected by molecular tests, pays a fee for the treatment of the disease. Dr. “Don’t the authorities know that without a diagnosis there can be no healthy treatment,” said Canatan.
I PAY THE CHROMOSOME TEST, I DO NOT PAY THE DNA TEST THAT FORMS THE CHROMOSOME
Stating that the system that does not pay for the diagnosis of the disease allows the treatment of the disease, Prof. Dr. Canatan said, “We know that there can be no treatment without a diagnosis. However, SGK says, ‘I pay the chromosome test fee, but I do not pay for the DNA tests of the genes that make up the chromosome’.
Emphasizing that the article called ‘molecular test fee cannot be paid’ in the latest Health Practices Communiqué (SUT) published, it is necessary to re-arrange the article and make a contract with both diagnosis centers and treatment centers. Dr. “It should include all genetic testing. Thus, there should be no payment problem between the citizen (patient) and the doctor. The cost of such tests of every insured citizen should be covered by SSI.
IMPORTANT NOT ONLY IN DIAGNOSIS, BUT ALSO IN TREATMENT
Emphasizing the importance of molecular tests, Prof. Dr. Canatan said: “Molecular tests have an important place not only in the definitive diagnosis of diseases, but also in the definitive treatment. After a cancer patient is diagnosed at the clinical level, the disease must be diagnosed at the molecular genetic level before starting drug therapy. Whether there is resistance to drugs (chemotherapy) in the treatment of the disease can be determined by molecular genetic tests. It is very important to choose the drugs to be given without making these definitions. If the patient has resistance to drugs, he will not need to take chemotherapy in vain, other treatment methods will be applied first. Thus, a significant contribution will be made to the country’s economy.