On 24 March 2024, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a new guideline on Ovarian cancer: identifying and managing familial and genetic risk.

Previously, family history of ovarian cancer was included in guidance on managing family risk of breast cancer. We’re delighted that this new evidence-based guideline will provide greater clarity on how to identify and manage familial and genetic risk of ovarian cancer for healthcare professionals and their patients in England.

The new guideline increases the availability of genetic testing. The guidelines include people who: 

  • have a first-degree relative with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
  • have a maternal or paternal second-degree relative with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
  • meet other family history criteria as detailed in the guideline.
  • are from an at risk population including Ashkenazi Jewish, Sephardic Jewish or Greenlander.
  • have been identified at increased risk through genetic testing of relatives.
  • have a diagnosis of ovarian cancer including the rarer subtypes - invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (now including mucinous ovarian cancer); ovarian Sertoli–Leydig cell tumour; small cell carcinoma of the ovary hypercalcaemic type; ovarian sex cord tumour with annular tubules; embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the ovary; ovarian gynandroblastoma.

The guidelines also adjust the threshold of risk according to age. Previously to be eligible for testing you needed to reach a threshold of 10 per cent risk. The new guidelines take age into account and for some people the threshold is much lower than 10 per cent. 

Please see the full guidelines on the NICE website for more details here.

If you are worried about your risk of ovarian cancer you can speak with your GP. If you have a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and want to know if these new guidelines now include available genetic testing for you, please speak with your oncologist.

Our support line is open Monday - Friday 10am to 5pm and the team are available to talk through any worries or questions you have about inherited risk. You can call, email or chat online with our support team, full details here.

We also have a monthly support group for anyone diagnosed with ovarian cancer who has an inherited risk to share experiences with others in a similar situation. The group runs from 11am to 12.30am every second Wednesday of the month. Join the inherited risk support group.