HC Deb 20 November 2000 vol 357 c48W
Joan Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on genetic testing of women who may be pre-disposed to develop breast cancer; how many genetic tests for BRCA 1 and 2 are carried out each year; and how many of these tests produced positive results. [138340]

Yvette Cooper

[holding answer 14 November 2000]: Referral for specialist genetic counselling is normally only appropriate for women at high familial risk of breast cancer. Genetic testing for mutations in the breast cancer predisposition genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) may be appropriate for some of these women. In 1998–99, 1,173 tests were undertaken in United Kingdom regional genetic centres for BRCA1 and BRCA2. This compares to 856 in 1997–98 and 458 in 1996–97.

Information on the number of tests which produced positive results is not held centrally. New initiatives for cancer genetic services were outlined in the National Health Service cancer plan, one of which is that common datasets will be developed for the collection of information by cancer genetic services.