Question asked by: 
Date asked: 
Jan 2018

Both my mother and grandmother died from ovarian cancer - my mother was in her early 40s. I am now 36 and I I believe I am in an 'at risk' category. My aunt, who is now in her 50s, has regular screening for ovarian cancer following my mother's death, however as I was only 25 I was not offered this.

Following from my mother's death I visited the family cancer clinic and as there was not any blood from my mum they could not test for the hereditary gene. I am not getting anywhere with my GP so is there another way that I can get onto the screening list? 

What are possible screening options as I believe I am 'at risk'?
If you have been to your genetics service in the past, you should contact them directly for advice.
Response by Dr Marc Tischkowitz, Honorary Consultant, Department of Medical Genetics

If you have been to your genetics service in the past, you should contact them directly for advice. If not, you should visit your GP again and request a referral to your local genetics centre for an assessment. A list of genetics centres can be found here and most do outreach clinics in local hospitals.

Prior to your GP appointment try and get as much information about your family history of both ovarian cancer and breast cancer (in both your parents’ families). 

Based on the information you have already provided you may fall into a risk group who should be offered genetic counselling and testing. The fact neither your mother's or grandmother's cancers were ever tested for BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations can make the genetic testing a bit more complicated but it is still possible to do this by testing you and/or other close relatives. However, it would be crucial to get confirmation of the diagnoses in your family by getting the hospital pathology reports or the death certificates.

Currently there is no evidence that screening programmes for ovarian cancer in the general population or in women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer offer any benefit. If it turns out that you may be at high risk for ovarian cancer because of your family history, then the genetics team would discuss how best to manage your risk.