The two sides of genetic testing

“AUSTRALIANS refused insurance because of poor genes” and “Insurance fears lead many to shun DNA tests” are two of the headlines inciting fear among Australians of genetic discrimination from health insurers.1 

The fear of being denied life insurance or being subjected to higher premiums based on disease risks identified by genetic tests is also driving some patients to forgo important genetic tests, potentially jeopardising their health, some experts say.  

But is this phenomenon real and, if so, are calls for non-disclosure of genetic test results by some experts the answer? 

Mark McCalister,* a 28-year-old Brisbane engineer, knows only too well that genetic testing can be a double-edged sword.  

“I’m not one to stick my head in the sand if there is a problem,” he says, but with a wife and three kids to support, and a family history of colorectal cancer, Mark did something out