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Step up breast gene screening call

Friday October 4th, 2019

All women diagnosed with breast cancer should be offered genetic testing to help identify others at risk, British researchers say today.

In the UK systematic testing would prevent more than 2,100 cases of breast and ovarian cancer and prevent 633 deaths a year, according to the study.

Researchers said breast cancer screening should be brought into line with ovarian cancer, which triggers an automatic offer of testing when a woman is diagnosed.

Under the proposal, set out in JAMA Oncology, testing would look for the BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2 genes.

The call was made at the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dr Ranjit Manchand, from Queen Mary University of London, UK, said: “Our findings support the concept of broadening genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer genes to all women with breast cancer, beyond just the current criteria-based approach. This could prevent many more breast and ovarian cancers than the current testing strategy, saving many lives.

“With the costs of testing falling this can provide huge new opportunities for cancer prevention and changes in the way we deliver cancer genetic testing. This approach can ensure that more women can take preventative action to reduce their cancer risk or undertake regular screening.”

Patient Alison Dagul said: “I found out I had ovarian cancer shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis, it was only after I had been diagnosed with both that I had BRCA testing. Thanks to BRCA testing my daughter, Gaby, now has the information she needs to make informed decisions about her health.

"She has already had a preventative double mastectomy, when she was 26, and she is now in the process of planning for surgery to prevent ovarian cancer. It is a horrible cloud to live under but I am so grateful she has had the chance I didn’t, to prevent herself from getting these cancers."

* Improved detection and care have prevented more than 130,000 breast cancer deaths in the last 30 years, according to an analysis published today.

The mortality rate has fallen by 44% since 1989 when it reached its peak, according to the analysis by Cancer Research UK.

A cost-effectiveness analysis of multigene testing for all patients with breast cancer. JAMA Oncology 4 October 2019

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2752373

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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