Monday, October 24, 2016

Prolaris, by Myriad Genetic Laboratories

Prolaris is a test to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer, based on an examination of changes to the DNA of a biopsy sample. It’s relatively new, but has had good results in giving a better idea of how the cancer is developing than just looking at the slides under a microscope. It was suggested by my urologist, who noted that my HMO had approved it for other patients of his. I immediately agreed during my February 17, 2015 appointment that I wanted the Prolaris test. I don’t know when the staff at my urologist’s office sent the request to the HMO, but the HMO did not respond until March 20, more than a month later.

When the HMO did respond, it was to deny coverage. I appealed that decision, providing specific reasons it was important to me. My urologist sent the official appeal to the HMO on March 24. After some communication issues between my urologist’s staff and the HMO, the Prolaris test was finally approved on May 14.

The next step was to get the biopsy slides sent to Myriad Labs for the Prolaris test. There was another paperwork delay in Tallahassee before the pathology lab sent the biopsy slides to Prolaris.

On June 15, 2015, Myriad Labs notified me that the results were ready, and being sent to my urologist. I was able to make an appointment with him for June 18. The whole process of getting the Prolaris results had taken four months, from February 17 to June 18. This was not because of Myriad Labs, which has excellent customer service.

The Prolaris result was a score of -0.5. This means the aggressiveness of my cancer fell into the middle of the range of men whose biopsies show low-to-intermediate cancer risk. This was not bad enough to get immediate treatment, nor good enough to stop worrying about it.

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