NHS England have announced that anyone aged 18 or over who has at least one Jewish grandparent will be eligible for genetic screening to see whether they carry an impaired BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

BRCA genes produce a protein in our bodies to help our DNA repair itself when damaged. If DNA is not repaired, it can multiply out of control and form a tumour. Women who have a faulty BRCA gene have been found to be 44% more likely to develop ovarian cancer, and Jewish people are six times more likely to carry the faulty gene than the rest of the population.

Having a changed BRCA gene doesn’t mean that the individual is certain to develop cancer in their lifetime, but it allows them to receive support and be informed about choices that may lower their risk. It is hoped that this programme will allow people to take steps to reduce the chance of cancers developing, or that if they do develop, they can be detected as early as possible.

People with at least one Jewish grandparent can register for a saliva kit to be sent to their home address by visiting: https://jewishbrca.org/.

Anna Hudson, Head of Support Services at Ovacome said: “We are really pleased to see the announcement of this new programme of genetic testing for the Jewish community. This is an important programme as people with Jewish ancestry are six times are more likely to carry a genetic change that can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

“Information and support about the inherited increased risk of ovarian cancer is something our members tell us they want to have easily available to them. Our support line team are here every weekday to talk through any concerns about genetic testing, and you can also find more information on our website."

You can find more information on BRCA and genetic testing on Ovacome’s website and in February we will be launching a new support group for people with an inherited increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Read more about BRCA and genetic testing.

Join the new group for people with an inherited risk of ovarian cancer.