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Ovarian cancer probe

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Government to fund new project to help women identify their ovarian cancer risk factors

A new ground-breaking project that will help to identify women at risk of developing ovarian cancer has received a funding boost of $3m from the Government.

The TRACEBACK project will run for four years and offer testing to women at risk of having the BRCA 1 and 2 genes.

The results will help women understand their risk of developing ovarian and/or breast cancer and allow them to consider taking preventative action.

Ovarian Cancer Australia and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will partner on the project which will identify women with the BRCA 1 and 2 genes mutation, with the hope that cancers can be reduced.

TRACEBACK will involve genetic testing of around 1,500 tissue specimens collected from Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the past 15 years.

It is estimated that genetics and family history are responsible for at least 15% of ovarian cancers.

Ovarian Cancer Australia expects to identify nearly 400 BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, and estimates that this could prevent more than 2,000 incidences of breast and 800 ovarian cancers.

Approximately 1,500 Australian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year, and it’s estimated that more than 1,000 women died.

From 2009 to 2013 ovarian cancer had the lowest five-year relative survival rate — just over 44% of all the gynaecological cancers in Australia.

However, these statistics do not reveal the real impact of ovarian cancer on those who suffer from it and their loved ones.

The Turnbull Government said it is committed to tackling cancer and provides support for women suffering from ovarian cancer through Medicare.

“Last November we added two new Medicare items for the testing of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes mutation that predispose women to ovarian and/or breast cancer.

We have also moved to ensure medicines to treat ovarian cancer are more affordable, spending more than $17 million on PBS medicines in 2016–17 for the treatment of ovarian cancer.”

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