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Gene test will adjust cancer care

Tuesday December 29th 2020

The NHS is to fund a high speed genetic test to help improve cancer treatment with fluoropyrimidines, it has been announced.

The new test will enable doctors to identify risk of side effects, which can include fatal reactions, NHS England said.

It will enable doctors to decide whether to offer reduced doses or other treatments - and is likely to help up to 40% of patients.

The test is already in use in some hospitals, such as Guy's in London, but will now be available across England.

National clinical director for cancer Professor Peter Johnson said: "This test can help us to treat people with cancer as safely as possible, at what has been and continues to be an exceptionally a difficult time for millions of us.

"The number of people having their cancer care with the NHS is back to levels we saw before COVID-19, with nearly 350,000 having treatment since the first peak, and as the NHS continues to prioritise essential cancer care, this latest innovation is another important tool to ensure people in England get the best possible treatment."

The organisation's chief scientific officer Professor Dame Sue Hill added: "This announcement marks an important moment for how genomics can help tailor treatments to make them safer for patients with cancer."

Dr Simon Vincent, from Breast Cancer Now, added: "The national roll-out of this test is a welcome step towards ensuring that everyone being treated for cancer with chemotherapy is given the most appropriate, and kindest, treatment based on their genetic makeup.

"Fluoropyrimidines are used to treat some breast cancer tumours, and we look forward to this test being available to provide insight on the side effects of these drugs for certain women, so that they and their healthcare team can make the most informed decisions about their treatment."

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | NHS | UK News

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