Cancer testing in West Herts

27th August 2015

Anne Main has welcomed the news that the West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust (WHHT) is now testing for Lynch syndrome, formerly hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), for all patients diagnosed with cancer 50 and under.

The St Albans MP met with Bowel Cancer UK (BCUK) back in March this year to discuss the practice of testing for the condition. HNPCC puts a person at a higher risk of developing other cancers, as well as having implications for how bowel cancer is treated. ‘I met with BCUK who raised concerns about best practice and the ways in which Lynch could be detected,’ said Anne.

‘When I wrote to the Trust initially, I asked them if there were plans to introduce this new strategy as a matter of urgency. I was pleased to learn that the Trust are now carrying out the test after diagnosis for all patients under 50 – this is an important improvement.’

A spokesperson for the Trust said, ‘following the initial enquiry in March, there have been some changes as, at that time, we were only carrying out the test on request from the oncologists - which was the decision of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT).’ Anne said that she was delighted to hear the news from the Trust that, ‘we [WHHT] now routinely ask for mismatch repair (HNPCC) testing for all patients 50 and under regardless, and over 50 at the request of oncology.’

Mrs Main said that ‘there are many associated risks with Lynch syndrome, not least colorectal and stomach cancer, so early detection is key.’

BCUK said ‘we’re really pleased with the response from the Trust. This is a huge improvement on their previous policy for Lynch syndrome testing which was to only carry it out upon request.’

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