I understand that people with Lynch syndrome have a higher risk of developing certain cancers, including bowel cancer.
You may be aware that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for issuing authoritative, evidence-based guidance on best practice for the NHS. NICE's guidance supports the rapid and consistent adoption of clinically and cost effective diagnostic tests in the NHS.
Testing for Lynch syndrome has been recommended by NICE as important in identifying genetic predisposition to bowel cancer, would could lead to better results for patients through earlier diagnosis or treatment. While testing is being carried out in some areas, I am aware that the guideline is not being followed by all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) meaning that some patients and their families in our area are not receiving the test.
I am encouraged that NHS England will be working with CCG pathology service commissioners during 2018 / 19 to jointly develop a policy position in relation to genetic testing for Lynch syndrome. This should take into account the NICE guidance and should ensure that patients and their families receive the test where appropriate.
I am encouraged that the NICE guidance goes even further than the recommendation of the independent Cancer Taskforce, and states that NHS commissioners should ensure that all patients under the age of 50 receiving a bowel cancer diagnosis are offered a genetic test for Lynch syndrome.
The commissioning of these tests lies with local NHS organisations, and I believe they should take NICE's guidance fully into account as they design services to meet the needs of their areas. NICE has also published additional practical information and advice to help NHS organisations to implement its recommendations.