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Tatum's story

"Mum was really good at checking her breast health because of what had happened with her sisters…but no one had ever talked to her about ovarian cancer."

We believe that lives are being lost because women at increased risk of ovarian cancer due to family history are not being identified.

Up to one in five women (20 per cent) with ovarian cancer have an inherited form of ovarian cancer.

This could be passed down on their mother or father’s side of the family, and is often because of a ‘faulty’ or mutated gene (like the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene which predisposes to both ovarian and breast cancer). Find out more about ovarian cancer in families.

A family history of ovarian and/or breast cancer can increase a woman’s risk from two per cent lifetime risk to up to 45 per cent lifetime risk. But women who know they are at high risk can take steps to reduce their risk, and to ensure that if they do develop ovarian cancer, they are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage.

What needs to change?

  • We want the term Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome to be recognised in national guidance and the media. This will help to ensure women are fully aware of the implications of family history, and that the risk of ovarian cancer is not underestimated. 
  • We want genetic testing to be offered to all women across the UK with high grade serous ovarian cancer in line with current NICE guidance. Genetic testing has strong emotional implications for women and their families, so all women should have access to counselling, overseen by genetic services, in order to make a truly informed decision on whether to be tested.
  • We want genetic testing to be accessible across the UK for all women with a strong family history (a strong family history means two or more close relatives, from the same side of a family - mother or father’s - with ovarian and/or breast cancer). This should include appropriate counselling and support through expert specialist genetic services.

Our campaign so far

  • We have published our position statement on BRCA gene testing: "Genetic testing has strong emotional implications for women and their families, so all women should have access to counselling, overseen by genetic services, in order to make a truly informed decision on whether to be tested."
  • We are funding a clinical trial at Cambridge University into the feasibility, acceptability and cost effectiveness of systematic genetic testing of all women with ovarian cancer under the expert auspicious of genetic services. 
  • We are working with Breakthrough Breast Cancer to call for better services for women with a higher risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer due to their family history, including organising a joint meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer
  • We are sharing women's stories about the impact of genetic testing on them and their families.

Help us campaign

We would like to hear from women, and their families, who have a familial history of ovarian and/or breast cancer, including those who have had genetic testing, and those who have not. Find out how you can help us campaign by raising awareness or sharing your story.

Stay up to date

Read related news

Tuesday 19 January 2016
Findings have today been reported that show an increase in risk of ovarian cancer for women carrying a mutation in their BRIP1 (FANCJ) gene. This is different from the more well-recognised mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Target Ovarian Cancer’s Director of Research, Dr Simon Newman, said: “...
Tuesday 3 November 2015
The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) cancer conference is currently being held in Liverpool. We’ve pulled together a roundup of the biggest stories and research so far, some of which you may have read about in the news. Target Ovarian Cancer funded research paves way to roll out genetic...
Monday 2 November 2015
Dr Marc Tischkowitz, who is leading one of Target Ovarian Cancer’s funded research projects, is today presenting the clinical study’s preliminary findings at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference.  Dr Tischkowitz will be presenting the findings from the Genetic Testing in...
Thursday 24 September 2015
Dr Marc Tischkowitz’s landmark clinical study, funded by Target Ovarian Cancer, looks at ensuring women receive the appropriate genetic counselling both before and after genetic testing for BRCA gene mutations. Nearly 200 women have directly benefited from participating in the trial. Watch our new...