A recent study suggests that women with breast cancer should go for genetic screening. It can save hundreds of lives each year.
Till now, women with significant risk factors such as family history of breast cancer are offered the screening. However, researchers suggest that screening all women will help them to get treatment of choice. It will also enable the family members to take preventive measures.
Moreover, the NHS will also find it cost-effective.
In the United Kingdom, women having the diagnosis of ovarian cancer undergo screening and testing. This ensures whether they carry any genetic mutation that can increase their risk of developing breast cancer or not. However, this is not the case for breast cancer patients.
NHS England had committed that it would expand the genetic screening of patients having cancer. It will work as a part of its long-term treatment plan.
A young woman has changed her destiny
Alison Dagul is an English woman. She found out that she is suffering from ovarian cancer just after she received her diagnosis of breast cancer.
She did not know that she received the Brca 1 mutation from her father until she underwent her treatment for cancer. Otherwise, she might have changed her choice to receive genetic screening.
She said that if she had this knowledge beforehand, she might have undergone a complete mastectomy. As a result, she would have to go for annual checkups instead of 12-week checkups.
Alison suggests that everyone should go for genetic screening. She added that we can save someone’s life even by telling her about this.
She said that this knowledge of genetic screening has enabled her daughter, Gaby, to get informed health treatments. When her daughter was 26, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy.
Now, Gaby is planning to undergo surgery to prevent ovarian cancer.
It is horrible for a mother to know that she has passed the genetic risk factor to her daughter. But Alison is happy for her daughter that she can prevent all these cancers.
She commented that this knowledge of preventive measure has enabled her daughter to change her destiny.
Women need to go for more tests
The UK researchers observed the data of 11,800 women with the diagnosis of breast cancer from the US, UK, and Australia.
They modeled to understand the consequences after testing all these patients for Palb2, Brca1, and Brca2 gene mutations.
The analysis suggested that one-year screening can prevent about 2,102 cases of ovarian and breast cancer in the UK. Similarly, it can save almost 630 lives in the UK.
The NICE has advised NHS about new tests or treatments using the measure known as QALY. This represents the cost of one year of quality life. The defined upper limit is 20-30,000 pounds.
One of the NHS spokespersons said this new age of personalized medicine is capable of bringing life-changing benefits to patients. Therefore, NHS is committed to greatly expand the concept of genetic screening for cancer patients.
The study results and findings are published in the journal JAMA Oncology