Women at high breast-cancer risk to be given new scans

In collaboration with the Press Association

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer will be offered new high-tech MRI screening, the UK's medical regulator NICE has said.

The announcement was welcomed by cancer charities.

The annual scans will be offered to women as young as 20 and will use MRI scanning, which is up to ten times more expensive than mammograms but is more effective.

Currently, women with strong family histories of breast cancer are invited for mammography screening once they reach the age of 40.

Women who carry the TP53 genetic mutation, which carries an "exceptionally high risk", will now be offered annual scans at age 20, and women with BRCA1/2 mutations from age 30.

"The studies show greater sensitivity of MRI in detecting breast cancer at an early stage in women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer due to their family history," said NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon.

"We have therefore recommended its use in this group." he added.

Find out more about breast cancer risk on our patient information site, CancerHelp UK

Read the NICE announcement