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GeneHealth UK: Genetic screening arrives at The Wellington

In March this year, GeneHealth UK began holding regular clinics at the Platinum Medical Centre.

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Sessions are run by genetic counsellor, Vicki Kiesel, who offers private genetic tests for a range of cancers, including breast, prostate, bowel and ovarian. Although cancer is not often inherited, in some families there may be an increased risk due to a genetic mutation.

GeneHealth UK is the leading provider of early detection services and offers clinical diagnostics designed to detect cancer at an early stage, increasing the opportunity for successful treatment. Genetic testing can help determine the risk of cancer within a family and guide appropriate cancer screening for that patient. Specific screening tests are administered depending on the genetic risk of the individual, with risk reducing strategies also considered.

Genetic testing

Historically, the remit of genetic testing has been to assess the risk of future cancers. But through the use of Sanger sequencing single genes, this has taken months, even years, to analyse. With the advent of Next-Generation Sequencing, multiple genes can now be simultaneously analysed, providing results within weeks and allowing testing at the point of diagnosis. This has meant that genetic testing is now becoming incorporated into the treatment pathway of cancer patients, guiding their current cancer management and future risk reduction options.

BreastGene and BRCA1 & BRCA2

BreastGene is part of the GeneHealth UK service, and looks at 10 specific genes which cause an increased risk of breast cancer, particularly breast and ovarian cancers, including BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Statistics on genetics

  • 5-10% of cancer is inherited
  • BRCA mutations are the cause of approximately 20% of ovarian cancer cases
  • 1 in 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • Women with BRCA1& BRCA2 mutations have up to an 85% lifetime risk of breast cancer
  • Women with BRCA1/BRCA2 have up to a 60% risk of ovarian cancer
  • Men with BRCA2 have a 25% risk of prostate cancer and a 5-10% risk of male breast cancer
  • There is no effective ovarian cancer screening, so risk reducing surgery is the only option.

For women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer the identification of a BRCA mutation makes a big difference. Instead of a wide local excision followed by radiotherapy, women with BRCA mutations may opt to have a bilateral mastectomy, particularly because studies have now shown this results in a clear survival benefit. It is also important that women with BRCA1-associated triple negative breast cancer have chemotherapy regardless of stage, as this has also been shown to create a survival benefit. All women with BRCA mutations should consider a bilateral salphingo-ophorectomy once they’ve completed their families and are aged 40+.

Once a BRCA mutation has been identified it is then possible to offer predictive testing to relatives, with first degree relatives having a 50% chance of also carrying the mutation. Unaffected women can then be offered increased breast cancer surveillance, chemoprevention and risk reducing surgery.

  • Results for comprehensive BRCA testing are available in 4 weeks.
  • BRCA testing for the Jewish mutation are available within 2 weeks.
  • Cancer panel tests are available in 10 weeks

For further information about genetic testing, please head to


GeneHealth UK, BRCA, Genetic Screening, BRCA1, BRCA2, mutation, Genetics, Vickie Kiesel, Breast, Prostate, Bowel, Ovarian, Cancer, inherited,Genetic testing, Sanger, Sequencing

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