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All British women over 30 should be tested for gene mutations which cause breast and ovarian cancer, new research suggests.
Screening the entire population rather than just those at high-risk of carrying either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation would be more cost effective and could help prevent more of the cancers, according to scientists from Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London.
A programme to test all women over 30 could result in up to 17,000 fewer ovarian cancers and 64,000 fewer breast cancers, the team at Barts believe.
Athena Lamnisos, chief executive of cancer research charity The Eve Appeal, said the study offers an "an exciting step forward in prevention".
The research, supported by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.