Breast cancer genetic testing

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Genetic testing for faulty breast cancer genes is to be extended for women in Scotland.

Clarifying the position in Scotland, Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

“In Scotland, the Scottish Genetics Laboratory Consortium steering group has already decided to extend the testing in line with the new NICE recommendation. This agreement was reached in April this year and will be fully implemented by 1 June.

“Anyone who is concerned they may be at risk because of their family history should seek advice via their GP who can, if appropriate, refer on to the cancer genetics service.

“The earlier cancer is detected the easier it is to treat and the better the chance of a successful outcome and we hope that Ms Jolie‚Äôs story will encourage anyone with a family history of cancer to seek advice from the medical profession.”

James Jopling, Scotland Director at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said:

“We welcome the fact Scotland is mirroring the draft NICE recommendation to extend tests to more women at risk of having the BRCA gene.

“It is worth remembering the gene fault is rare and is present in less than one per cent of the population, usually where there are multiple members of the family affected by breast or ovarian cancer at a younger age than would usually be expected.

“If women have any concerns about having a family history of breast cancer we advise they should contact their GP for guidance.”

The changes will meant that the risk estimation level to trigger genetic testing will fall from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.