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‘Angelina Jolie gene test’ advised for women in their 30s

Experts say that women in their 30s should be tested for ‘Angelina Jolie’-type genetic mutations

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Experts in the U.S. have said that women in their 30s getting screened for the Angelina Jolie-type genetic mutation increasing the risk of breast or ovarian cancer is a “no brainer”, The Times reported.

Professor of medical genetics at Washington University, Dr. Elizabeth Swisher, led a debate on Tuesday at the American Society for Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago where she said that regular checkups for British women with the NHS is highly recommended as a simple blood test could “definitely save lives”.

“Not only are they aggressive cancers, they are early onset so you have a lot of years of life to save. This is an opportunity to prevent cancers and reduce mortality. I think it’s a no brainer,” Dr. Swisher said.

Around 1 in 400 women carry the genetic mutation in their BRCA1 or 2 genes which increases the risk of them developing breast or ovarian cancer by up to 90 percent.

Simple blood tests could identify the mutation and help women take precautionary action before developing the disease, which is why doctors are encouraging the NHS to offer blood tests.

Angelina Jolie became associated with these genetic mutations when she chose to have her breasts and ovaries removed as the risk of her developing cancer was so high after she discovered that she has the gene.

British expert in medical genetics and cancer epidemiology, Professor Garth Evans, claims that with technological developments in screening techniques the tests could cost £200 ($305) per patient if it was done on a mass basis.

“Widespread BRCA testing in the UK is feasible. But you would have to build up capacity and decide what age to do it,” Evans said, adding that counseling services would need to be available to those who found that they have the gene.