NHS England has appointed the charity Jnetics, working in partnership with Chai Cancer Care, to help promote a new programme of genetic testing to identify individuals with a BRCA gene fault.
The testing programme will launch next year as part of the NHS’s drive to catch tumours early when they are easier to treat.
The NHS plans to identify thousands more ‘BRCA carriers’ over the next three years so they can seek early access to surveillance and prevention programmes.
The engagement campaign from Jnetics and Chai Cancer Care will help to raise awareness in Jewish communities and encourage a significant number of men and women over the age of 18 with Jewish ancestry to come forward for a free BRCA test, once the programme is rolled-out next year.
BRCA refers to two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA 2. Some individuals are born with a fault in one of these genes, and this increases their likelihood of developing certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
People with Jewish ancestry are more than 10 times more likely to carry such genetic faults than the general population.
NHS England is launching its BRCA Testing Programme, which will see anyone with Jewish ancestry offered a simple genetic test to look for the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 faults.
Following a competitive tender process Jnetics, in partnership with Chai Cancer Care, were appointed to lead a communications campaign to promote the programme.
Together with communications agency Creative & Commercial the organisations will launch a campaign to engage all members of the Jewish community as well as anyone ancestrally Jewish, through a targeted advertising and influencer campaign across print, digital and social media.
Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England said:
“BRCA testing for people at the most risk has the potential to save lives, by helping diagnose future cancers earlier or avoid them developing altogether – with those at increased risk able to take advantage of surveillance and prevention programmes with their health teams.
“For this to be effective and reach the people we most want to help, we must ensure widespread awareness and support for the testing programme across Jewish communities, so we are delighted to be working with Jnetics and Chai Cancer Care – two highly respected organisations with deep community roots – to lead this campaign.”
Jnetics CEO Nicole Gordon said:
“This programme offers the community a breakthrough opportunity to reduce the impact of hereditary cancer in the Jewish community and to save lives”.
“As the Jewish community’s only organisation dedicated to improving the prevention and diagnosis of Jewish genetic disorders in the UK we are committed to ensuring that the NHS BRCA testing roll-out to the Jewish community reaches every corner of our community.”
Lisa Steele, Chief Executive at Chai Cancer Care said:
“Chai Cancer Care is delighted to bring our cancer care knowledge and expertise to this partnership. Together we will ensure that all those affected by the impact of a BRCA test are given the very best information, care and support at every stage in the process.
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