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Testing ovarian cancer patients for BRCA gene mutations to better understand risk

| | February 12, 2018

Thousands of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will be tested to see if they are hidden carriers of the gene that can cause the deadly disease.

The Traceback program at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne will test tissue samples of 11,000 women diagnosed between 2001 and 2016 to see if they are carriers of the BRCA gene mutations. People with BRCA mutations are at an increased risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. Professor David Bowtell from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said at least 1,500 of the women may have unknowingly inherited a BRCA mutation.

Some of the patients whose tissue is being tested may have already died, so if a mutation is detected, it’s expected their close family members will want to be tested. Sydney psychologist Kristin Young said if her family had been tested for the mutations, she might not have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Federal Government would give $3 million to the project. “Approximately 1,500 Australian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year and it’s estimated that more than 1,000 died,” he said. “The results of this project will help women understand their risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer and allow them to consider taking preventative action.”

Read full, original post: Ovarian cancer patients’ tissue samples to be tested for BRCA gene mutation

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