BRCA 1 and 2 Gene Testing

Over the last 12 months there seems to have been a steady increase in the number of women seeking genetic counselling and gene testing. With the recent press coverage on Angelina Jolie and Michelle Heaton, much national awareness has been generated.

Spire Harpenden Hospital and GeneHealth UK are proud of their collaboration which has opened one of the first private clinics for genetic counselling and testing.

Patients can now take a simple saliva test (most use blood samples) which identifies the BRCA 1 and 2 genes from the patient’s DNA. The test results usually take around six to eight weeks.

As BRCA 1 and 2 carriers have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer, some women may decide to have a risk reducing double mastectomy. This can reduce the risk of breast cancer to approximately 5% over a lifetime.  

In addition to the comprehensive BRCA 1 and 2 gene test, Spire Harpenden Hospital also provide a special test for Ashkenazi Jewish individuals who have a higher risk of having a BRCA mutation. This test looks for three common mutations which are found in specific locations in the BRCA genes. This is a faster test to run, with results normally available within two weeks.

Carriers of BRCA 1 and 2 mutations have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer and therefore frequently make screening and treatment decisions on the basis of their genetic test results. You will have the support of a leading genetic counsellor fully explaining the pros and cons of BRCA testing, personal risk and what options are available, depending on the test result. After the test there is another consultation, which will explain the test results and support the patient in making an informed decision. 

Spire Harpenden Hospital has teamed up with GeneHealth UK’s genetic counsellor Vicki Kiesel who is a registered and certified genetic counsellor. She has worked within the field of cancer genetics for seven years and is internationally known. She is currently working within the NHS as a lead principal genetic counsellor and is also an honorary clinical lecturer. Vicki teaches cancer risk assessment to allied healthcare professionals and is a mentor to genetic counsellors.

For more information on the services and tests available call us on 01582 714 420.

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