Hundreds of thousands more Brits ‘to get cancer gene tests’ to detect deadly tumour risk earlier

Hundreds of thousands more Brits could have genetic testing to determine their cancer risk as part of health insurance.

NHS regulator NICE has proposed lowering the barrier for DNA testing to determine whether they carry genes linked to ovarian cancer.

Hundreds of thousands of British women unknowingly carry genes that increase their risk of cancer


Hundreds of thousands of British women unknowingly carry genes that increase their risk of cancerPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

It is said that only around three percent of the more than 400,000 wearers know about the danger.

Men could also be tested because they could pass it on to their daughters, bosses at the National Institutes for Health and Care Excellence said.

Some of these mutations are also linked to breast cancer, the most common cancer in the UK.

Professor Jonathan Benger, Chief Medical Officer at NICE, said: “We want to raise people’s awareness of the risk, help them get the best care and reduce the devastating impact that ovarian cancer can have on people and their families.”

“While there is an initial cost to expanding genetic testing, the risk-reducing surgery we recommend could save lives while saving the NHS money in the long run.”

Women diagnosed with a very high risk of ovarian cancer may have their ovaries removed as a preventive measure.

Every year around 7,500 women develop the disease and 4,100 die from it.

According to Cancer Research UK, nine out of 10 cases cannot be prevented by a healthier lifestyle, with many of these linked to harmful gene mutations.

People can be referred for genetic testing if they or a close relative has cancer.

NICE is proposing to lower the threshold to allow people with a two per cent risk of carrying a risk gene to be tested, compared to the current standard of a 10 per cent risk.

A consultation on the proposal will take place until October 27th.

Rachel Downing, from the Target Ovarian Cancer charity, said: “Identifying those at risk of developing ovarian cancer is an important step in the fight against this devastating disease.”

“We know there is a lack of awareness of ovarian cancer and it is not surprising that only three percent know they have a high-risk gene.

“This draft policy is a promising step forward.”

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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