Cancer risk test for smokers could be offered at pharmacies

A scientist who helped develop a cheek swab genetic test for lung cancer risk is calling for it to be subsidised for smokers.

In a submission to the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill, Auckland University Associate Professor of Medicine and Molecular Genetics Robert Young weighed in with support for the $150 test to be made available on prescription and sold at pharmacies. The test identifies individuals who are at moderate, high and very high risk of lung cancer.

Young said that, “Medicalising smoking … will help people to be suitably engaged and treated and supported.

“There’s been several decades now of public health messaging and we are left with a group of people who continue to resist the messaging. It’s not personalised and basically I think they are in a form of denial and I think testing like this is a wake up call.”

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