Petition Make BRCA testing a choice for females over 30 on the NHS and more info given

My dearest friend sadly passed away from ovarian cancer but with no family history her doctor misdiagnosed her for 18 months. If more training and information was given to doctors or a BRCA test was done she might of still been here today and lived a life with her husband and little boy

More details

Stats of ovarian & cervical cancer is shockingly different, according to Cancer Research UK, 7378 ovarian cancer cases in 2016 which lead to 4128 deaths with a survival rate of 34% & cervical cancer 3224 cases in 2016 with 890 deaths with a survival rate of 63%

Due to the fact you are screened every 3 years and doctors are aware of the symptoms for cervical cancer so have a greater change of catching it early, however you are only tested for BRCA if ovarian or breast cancer runs in the family.

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Government responded

Current BRCA testing is provided in accordance with a published clinical commissioning policy which is in line with NICE clinical guidelines. The policy has no age criteria.

Read the response in full

We are sorry to hear of anybody affected by ovarian cancer. In Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020 (1), the independent Cancer Taskforce noted that faulty BRCA genes are rare. However, between 45 and 90 per cent of women with a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. NHS England currently commissions Medical Genetics Services to provide BRCA testing in accordance with a published clinical commissioning policy which is in line with current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence clinical guidelines that address the needs of this group. The policy has no age criteria so the test is already available to women aged 30 and over.

In addition, between 40 and 60 per cent of women with a faulty BRCA1 gene, and between 10 and 30 per cent with a faulty BRCA2 gene, will develop ovarian cancer at some point in their lives. Testing women at the point of diagnosis can ensure access to the most relevant treatment and enable family members to understand their own risk and take preventative action where appropriate. This may include more regular screening, use of chemo-preventive agents such as tamoxifen, or other measures.

Recommendation 36 of the cancer strategy states:

NHS commissioners should ensure that:
• All women with non-mucinous epithelial ovarian cancer are offered testing for BRCA1/BRCA2 at the point of diagnosis
• All women under the age of 50 diagnosed with breast cancer are offered testing for BRCA1/BRCA2 at the point of diagnosis

These tests will enable any family members at high risk to be identified and active surveillance programmes put in place. Where applicable, positive tests should guide decisions on the most clinically and cost-effective prevention interventions or treatments.

NHS England is leading the health and care system in implementing the recommendations in the cancer strategy.


Department of Health and Social Care

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