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NICE updates Familial Breast Cancer Guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published draft recommendations updating their previous clinical guidelines for familial breast cancer.

On 29 November 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published draft recommendations updating their previous clinical guidelines for familial breast cancer. The guideline will update NICE clinical guideline CG164 (published in June 2013).

The new draft guidance covers care for people with a family history of breast, ovarian or other related (prostate or pancreatic) cancer. It covers strategies to reduce the risk of the disease and promote early detection as well as advice on treatments and risk reducing surgery.

There are two significant new updates in the draft recommendations:

  1. Offer anastrozole for 5 years to postmenopausal women at high risk of breast cancer unless they have severe osteoporosis
  2. Offer BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutation testing to women under 50 with triple negative breast cancer but who have no family history of the disease.

Anastrozole is a type of hormone drug for breast cancer called an aromatase inhibitor. Anastrozole blocks aromatase and so stops oestrogen production in post menopausal women.

The new recommendations have been welcomed by Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now who stated:

Studies have shown anastrozole to cut the risk of the disease in post-menopausal women by more than 50% in the first five years…….

The updated guideline is a great first step but we now need to ensure that these risk-reducing options actually make their way to patients who could benefit. Ultimately, if the full potential of anastrozole is to be realised for post-menopausal women, there needs to be far greater awareness and support for GPs in prescribing off-label treatments.”

You can read the draft recommendations here.

It is hoped that following implementation of the new guidelines, both prevention and detection of breast cancer will be improved.

Our Medical Negligence team is regularly instructed in cases of delayed or late diagnosis of cancer. If you or a member of your family has been affected by a possible delay in diagnosis, please contact us on 0800 316 8892.