Sunday 22 May 2022 11:13 PM Simple saliva test for breast cancer could save thousands of under-50s trends now

Sunday 22 May 2022 11:13 PM Simple saliva test for breast cancer could save thousands of under-50s trends now
Sunday 22 May 2022 11:13 PM Simple saliva test for breast cancer could save thousands of under-50s trends now

Sunday 22 May 2022 11:13 PM Simple saliva test for breast cancer could save thousands of under-50s trends now

A saliva test which identifies almost half of women who will get breast cancer in the next decade could save the lives of thousands of under-50s.

The test has been championed by television presenter Julia Bradbury, who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 51, and has been welcomed as 'promising' new research by Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

It could be particularly valuable to identify under-50s at higher genetic risk of breast cancer, who can't currently get mammograms on the NHS.

A major study on the saliva test looked at almost 2,500 women's risk of developing breast cancer. Among these women, who were followed up for an average of almost ten years, 644 got breast cancer.

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

The saliva test 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 alongside the 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 per cent of those who got it.

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

'It is particularly important for women under 50, who make up one in five cases of breast cancer.'

Researchers want the one-off genetic test to be rolled out to women at around the age of 30, well before they become eligible for mammograms aged 50.

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

Mr Javid said the findings are 'promising', adding: 'We are constantly monitoring innovative research like this to help inform our approach and get patients treated quicker.' Currently women under 50 can typically only get a genetic test on the NHS if a family member has a faulty gene linked to breast cancer, or if they have a strong family history of the disease in younger women.

It has been welcomed as 'promising' new research by Health Secretary Sajid Javid. It could be particularly valuable to identify under-50s at higher genetic risk of breast cancer, who can't currently get mammograms on the NHS

It has been welcomed as 'promising' new research by Health Secretary Sajid Javid. It could be particularly valuable to identify under-50s at higher genetic risk of breast cancer, who can't currently get mammograms on the NHS

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

Researchers found women with a 'moderate or high risk' of breast cancer made up 48 per cent of those

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