Friday 20 September 2019

Women waiting 15 months to be tested for gene that leaves them at higher risk of cancer

Qualio, a life sciences quality management software firm, is to open an office in Dublin. Photo: Stock Image
Qualio, a life sciences quality management software firm, is to open an office in Dublin. Photo: Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Nearly 200 women are waiting to be tested for a gene which leaves them at higher risk of cancer, it emerged yesterday.

Some who are in the "routine" category have been waiting up to 15 months to be tested for the BRCA genes at the genetics centre in Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin. Urgent tests take three months.

It emerged earlier this week that a woman who had the test at the centre in 2009 was positive for the BRCA1 gene but was told she was negative.

She is now seriously ill after developing ovarian cancer recently.

The hospital blamed a transcription error saying the test was read correctly by a UK laboratory but communicated incorrectly by the Dublin centre.

A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday a precautionary review had been carried this week on the records of other patients who previously had a test for the BRCA gene at the centre and got a positive result from the testing laboratory.

The review examined if the result was passed on correctly to the woman's doctor.

She said: "This review is now complete. No further discrepancy was identified in communicating the correct result to a patient's referring consultant.

"This precautionary review has been supervised by two senior experienced consultants to provide clinical oversight of the process.

"We want to offer reassurance to all patients who have undergone genetic consultation at the hospital that there is no concern regarding the accuracy in communicating the correct result of their positive diagnostic genetic BRCA test. There is no concern regarding the accuracy of the BRCA test itself, regrettably the error occurred in communicating the test result.

"The next phase is to audit the accuracy of correspondence to patients who had a negative diagnostic genetic BRCA test result."

A dedicated genetics helpline operates at (01) 409 6219 Monday-Friday, 9am-5.30pm.

The woman's solicitor, Caoimhe Haughey, said yesterday she would like a timeline for the completion of the second phase of the review.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News