Currently only women with a family history of cancer are offered DNA blood tests, however doctors have stated that if all women aged over 30 were tested this could lead to 27,000 cancer deaths being prevented.
Experts at Barts Cancer Institute in London have calculated that if 26 million British women over 30 were tested, 64,500 would be spared from breast cancer and 17,500 would be spared from ovarian cancer.
The cost of carrying out blood tests for all women aged over 30 would be £175 for each test, however this would be a minimal cost in comparison to diagnosing and treating cancer at a later stage. The cost of diagnosing and treating a women with breast cancer can cost the NHS at least £30,000.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two examples of genes that raise the risk of cancer if they become altered. Having a variant BRCA gene greatly increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. BRCA genes are not the only cancer risk genes, researchers have identified more than 100 new gene variants associated with a risk of breast and ovarian cancer. If all women over 30 receive DNA blood tests we can increase the chance of identifying breast and ovarian cancer at an early stage.
Ally Taft, a partner at Medical Accident Group stated that “the benefits of providing testing for all women over 30 far outweigh the negatives. Testing women over 30 provides the opportunity to identify cancer at an early stage, significantly increasing the chances of surviving either breast or ovarian cancer.”
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