Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are in “critical danger” of missing out on life saving treatment because they are not offered any genetic testing on the NHS, according to campaigners.
One in five women with non-mucinous epithelial ovarian cancer are believed to carry the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation which hugely increases their risk of developing the disease. The mutation indicates a form of cancer that responds more favourably to medication known as PARP inhibitors. This form of ovarian cancer accounts for 70% of cases.
The charity Ovarian Cancer Action has called for all women diagnosed with this kind of ovarian cancer to be offered screening for the faulty BRCA gene when they are diagnosed so they can access appropriate treatment. Genetic testing is the only way to determine whether a woman will benefit from PARP drugs. Screening is currently “patchy” across the UK and dependent on where a patient lives.
Inez Brown, partner at the Medical Accident Group said: “PARP inhibitors are generally more effective at killing cancer cells and shrinking tumours in patients with the BRCA gene than those without. They are particularly important for BRCA 1/2 patients who have a recurrence of ovarian cancer, and for whom there might not be many options. Screening impacts on future disease risk and patients with the gene are far more likely to develop breast cancer down the line. If you feel you have been denied PARP inhibitors or other medication, and that you may have been misdiagnosed, we at the Medical Accident Group can help.”
BRCA gene mutations mean that patients have between a 40 and 60 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer, compared with just two per cent in women without the mutation. They also have a 60 and 90 chance of developing tumours in the breast that are difficult to treat. Ovarian cancer patients in Scotland are automatically given the option to be tested for BRCA 1/2 after diagnosis, but in the rest of the UK screening is only given to those being treated at hospitals that are undergoing clinical trials. These include trials for PARP inhibitors which are expected to be licensed for general use in 2015.
Have you suffered due to a misdiagnosis of ovarian cancer or received negligent treatment?
If so, call the Medical Accident Group can help. The Medical Accident Group is a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 year’s experience. Our sensitive and understanding team will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668