A new breast cancer test will be available to to all public patients who require it from this week onwards.

The HSE National Cancer Control Programme today approved the use of the Oncotype DX test.

The test determines whether chemotherapy would be a suitable treatment for breast cancer patients.

The genetics-based test means that about 30% of women who would otherwise have had chemotheraphy will be spared the toxicity and long-term side effects of the treatment.

There had been speculation that the test would be deemed too expensive for the HSE to provide.

However, the National Cancer Control Programme has concluded that the test represents value for money and so will be available to all suitable public patients.

The test is suitable for early stage breast cancer and so about 300 women in Ireland will be able to avail of it each year.