Consultation with UK Cancer Genetic Centres

Consultation with UK Cancer Genetic Centres

Developing the infrastructure, processes and capabilities required for cancer gene testing to become routinely available to those that can benefit is an essential component of the Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics (MCG) programme.

To facilitate this initiative the programme held a consultation day with senior clinical representatives from all 24 UK Cancer Genetic Centres on 1st July 2013. The day was highly productive with animated discussions about the challenges and opportunities facing the NHS in implementing broader cancer genetic testing.

There was strong consensus in several areas, with 82% of attendees agreeing they would like to be able to offer more tests. Additionally 92% thought that there is/will be increasing interest from non-genetic clinicians (e.g. oncologists) to have more cancer gene testing in their patients.

Importantly, 100% thought there is/will be increasing interest from patients and the public to have cancer gene testing.

It was also clear that change is already underway, with the majority of those surveyed (86%) saying their genetic centre is already carrying out some activities with respect to increasing cancer gene testing and/or mainstreaming.

However, there are significant challenges to overcome. There is currently large variation and inequity in service provision across the country for complex, multifactorial reasons. There was consensus among the Cancer Geneticists that this should be addressed but also frustration that many of the reasons are outside their control.   

The MCG programme has begun implementing a new model for cancer gene testing, with one pilot underway in the gynae unit of the Royal Marsden, and a similar pilot in the breast unit to begin soon. Protocols, educational materials, supporting information and outcomes from the pilot will be made available to other UK genetic centres wishing to use this information to inform development of their cancer genetic services.

Outcomes from the UK Cancer Genetic centres consultation day contribute to a number of the programme’s workstreams, including: Implementation, Education & Engagement, Evaluation and Ethics.