The NHS to fund life saving gene test for breast cancer

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My name is Wendy Watson MBE.  I was the first person to have a double mastectomy due to the risk of hereditary breast cancer within my family.  9 out of 12 women in my family have suffered from breast cancer.  In 1996 I started the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline to help other women like me.  Little was known about hereditary breast cancer but things have changed. So far 3 genes have been identified that give a high risk of breast cancer with several more identified that increase risk.  In addition to the genes already found this simple test looks at 143 SNPs; markers around risk factors. People will be able to access more (or less!) screening.

A simple cheap test can identify these genes and help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

Is a life worth £80? Because that is the total cost of this genuinely life saving test.


We are asking people to sign our petition to get this test funded. A recent BBC news item demonstrated how invaluable this test is and showed a four fold difference in two sisters who otherwise would be given the same risk of developing breast cancer. The one sister had a 1 in 2 chance of developing breast cancer and has been able to have life saving preventive surgery, whilst the other sister was just back to population risk based on this inexpensive test. It makes no sense to fund widespread research on what has proven to be a life saving SNPS test that has still not been commissioned. We need this to urgently be debated and a common sense approach taken. What is important to note is that this saves money for the NHS whatever the result. £80 for a life?