Transformation Projects

Jewish BRCA Programme

Genetic testing for BRCA in the Jewish population

Jewish BRCA Programme

Project Background

People who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have an increased risk of developing several cancers, in particular breast and ovarian cancer. People with Jewish ancestry have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a variant in the BRCA gene compared to the general population where 1 in 300 are carriers. Despite having a higher chance of carrying a BRCA mutation compared to the general population, only approximately 11% of BRCA mutation carriers in this population have been identified.

Project Overview

The NHS Cancer Programme and the NHS Genomics Unit are establishing a programme to offer BRCA testing to the Jewish population across England regardless of personal cancer status or family history of cancer.  


This programme will include:

  1. An engagement campaign to encourage the Jewish population to come forward for a genetic test for BRCA. Testing will be available to people with Jewish ancestry across England and will be delivered by the NT GLH Cancer Hub at the Royal Marsden Hospital with support from the NW GLH.


  1. A genetic testing pathway that offers pre-test counselling and full BRCA1/ BRCA2 gene sequencing will be offered to Jewish adults over the age of 18 that haven’t previously received genetic testing for BRCA. Those who test positive will be enrolled into existing NHS treatment and surveillance pathways.
    1. Cascade testing will then be offered for those families where a BRCA mutation has been detected through the programme.


  1. An evaluation of the programme will be commissioned to understand how many tests were delivered, how many BRCA mutation carriers were identified and then enrolled into downstream management pathways and the overall expected impact on number of cancers prevented or diagnosed early.

Progress to Date

The programme underwent a soft launch in mid-January and is now open for participants to register interest for testing. Participants are able to access the Genetic-Counselling, and genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes through the programme.

Further Information

For further information on the screening programme please visit Jewish BRCA – Jewish BRCA/ Jnetics

Key Contacts – BRCA Programme Manager

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