A simple saliva test for breast cancer could save thousands of people under 50

A saliva test that identifies nearly half of women who will have breast cancer in the next decade could save the lives of thousands of people under 50.

The test was taken by the TV presenter Giulia Bradburydiagnosed with breast cancer at age 51 and hailed as “promising” new research by the Secretary of Health Sajid Javid.

It may be particularly helpful to identify people under the age of 50 at the highest genetic risk for breast cancer who are currently unable to have mammograms on the breast. NHS.

A major saliva test study looked at nearly 2,500 women’s risk of developing breast cancer. Among these women, followed on average for nearly ten years, 644 had breast cancer.

Saliva testing is expected to cost around £ 250 on the NHS, while breast cancer treatment can cost tens of thousands of pounds [File photo]

Saliva testing is expected to cost around £ 250 on the NHS, while breast cancer treatment can cost tens of thousands of pounds [File photo]

The test, used in conjunction with standard medical and life history information and a measure of women’s breast density, accurately predicted a higher risk of breast cancer in just under 50 percent of those who got it.

Professor Gareth Evans, who led the study at the University of Manchester, said: ‘If all of these women took drugs to prevent breast cancer, it could prevent a quarter of breast cancer cases and potentially save lives. 2,000 women a year If high-risk young women were offered annual mammograms, this could save hundreds of euros a year.

“It is especially important for women under 50 who make up one in five cases of breast cancer.”

Researchers want the one-time genetic test to be distributed to women in their 30s, long before they become eligible for mammography at the age of 50.

Saliva testing is expected to cost around £ 250 on the NHS, while breast cancer treatment can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Javid said the results are “promising,” adding, “We are constantly monitoring innovative research like this to help inform our approach and treat patients faster.” Currently, women under the age of 50 typically can only have a genetic test on the NHS if a family member has a defective gene linked to breast cancer or if they have a strong family history of the disease in younger women.

It was hailed as new research

It was hailed as “promising” new research by health secretary Sajid Javid. It may be particularly helpful to identify people under 50 at the highest genetic risk of breast cancer who are currently unable to have mammograms on the NHS

The new study is the first to look at this test and a saliva test that looks for more than 300 genetic differences, in addition to the two measures already available on the NHS: breast density and risk factors such as weight and family history.

The researchers found that women with a “moderate or high” risk of breast cancer accounted for up to 48 percent of those who developed “growing” breast cancer, classified by doctors as stage two or higher.

But nearly one in five women were found to be at low risk of breast cancer, which means they were well under 2% likely to develop it in the next decade.

It means that not only high-risk women may need more screenings, but nearly one in five low-risk women may need less frequent mammograms.

The results of the study, published in the journal Genetics in Medicine, found that about one in 50 women with breast cancer had mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that increased their risk of getting the disease. Of the nine women with breast cancer and a BRCA mutation in the study, only three would have been able to find out via the NHS under current rules.

But the study authors say BRCA mutations are so rare that it’s important to look at hundreds of other genetic variations as well.

Individually they carry a lower risk of breast cancer and together they can help significantly predict whether women will have breast cancer.

In the study, four out of ten women had the highest risk, moderate or high risk, or lowest risk of breast cancer. These are described as “actionable” categories. Some of the higher-risk women have decided to start using drugs that could reduce their risk.

The UK’s National Screening Committee, which decides whether genetic testing should be available to all women, is reviewing the saliva test results.

Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, of Breast Cancer Now, said: ‘Each year 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. Early detection can prevent people from dying from breast cancer, which is why we need research like this to understand how a more personalized approach to breast screening might work. ‘

Countryfile Julia: He may have spared me a mastectomy

A GENETIC test for breast cancer should be distributed to all NHS women, TV presenter Julia Bradbury said.

The mother of three and former Countryfile presenter underwent a mastectomy to remove her left breast after an ultrasound revealed a two-inch tumor.

She said, “If I could have had a saliva test that showed I had a higher risk of breast cancer, it could have led to my cancer being detected earlier and could have saved my left breast.

“I’m such a proponent of genetic testing for women and men because cancer treatments like mastectomies, radiation and chemotherapy are brutal and harsh.”

Mother-of-three and former Countryfile presenter underwent a mastectomy to remove her left breast after an ultrasound revealed a two-inch tumor

Mother-of-three and former Countryfile presenter underwent a mastectomy to remove her left breast after an ultrasound revealed a two-inch tumor

Miss Bradbury – who recently made the documentary Breast Cancer and Me – became eligible for a mammogram on the NHS last July.

Two mammograms were clear, but a further ultrasound revealed a “shadow” on one scan. She used a saliva test, looking for genetic variations that indicate her risk, to decide not to have a double mastectomy.

Professor Gareth Evans, who works at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and offered Miss Bradbury the test, said: “I truly believe that if Julia had been able to do this genetic test and the doctors had used the results, she would have been subjected to screening from the age of 40

‘This could have meant that her breast cancer had been detected by a mammogram much earlier. This could apply to one in eight women without a family history of breast cancer. ‘

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