‘Genetic testing will help us beat Ovarian Cancer’ – Ritchie

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Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Community, Politics
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has called for the implementation of automatic genetic testing of women diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in an effort to tackle the condition, which claims a life every 2 hours. Ritchie was speaking ahead of a Westminster debate which she secured for tomorrow (Tuesday 4th November) on the issue. She said, “I am delighted to have secured a debate on the challenges facing us in tackling Ovarian Cancer. This is a huge issue and it’s important that we all do our bit to beat this condition which claims the life of a woman every 2 hours in the UK. “It is damning that we have one of the worst survival rates in the developed world for Ovarian Cancer. 60% of patients diagnosed with this terrible condition do not survive beyond five years. “Those who sadly receive a late diagnosis, which happens too frequently because the symptoms are so similar to less serious conditions, have a 22% rate of survival beyond five years. We must take urgent action to address this,” she insisted. “We have the medical technology to make a serious difference. Genetic testing has developed in leaps and bounds and can influence not only the way we treat the condition but the chance for early diagnosis in others. “We know, for example, that the risk of developing ovarian cancer in those with a mutated BRCA 1/2 gene increases from 1/54 to 1/2. And we have the ability to test those genes. We have a medical and a moral duty to ensure this testing is made more readily available to save lives. “The selfless, tireless, inspirational campaign of Una Crudden has raised awareness of the symptoms and effects of ovarian cancer. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude. “We also owe her, and all cancer sufferers, our commitment that we will invest in early detection and prevention technologies. The BRCA gene test is one method of doing just that. Ritchie added, “I am calling on the UK Health Secretary and Health Ministers in the devolved nations to make this a priority and urgently invest in genetic testing. Doing so will save lives and that should make it a priority for us all.”
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