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  • 11/2/2011

Breast cancer gene may not pass to all

breast cancer gene may not pass to all

Researchers have suggested that not all the women of a family with a history of breast cancer have the same high level risk of developing the disease.

A new study of 3000 families with a history of breast cancer in Australia, Canada and the US showed that women who had relatives with breast cancer but didn’t carry the mutated genes were not at a higher risk of the disease.

The new findings contradict a 2007 study that suggested women with family members carrying a mutation of the BRCA gene were up to five times more likely to develop breast cancer.

The new research which is the largest of its kind showed that the risk of breast cancer in close relatives of women who carry mutations in a BRCA gene is similar to that of women with relatives with non-BRCA-related cancers.

All people normally carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes but if they have a mutated form of these genes their risk of developing breast cancer may increase by 50 to 85 percent.

“The results are encouraging and reassuring,”‌ said senior researcher Dr. Allison Kurian of Stanford University School of Medicine.

“This new study gives reassurance to non-carriers that they do not have an increased risk due to the familial mutation, and should be regarded the same as other non-carriers with first-degree relatives who have had breast cancer,”‌ she added.

The study also revealed that women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for only 3.4 percent of the female populations in the three countries which took part in the research.

The findings if confirmed by further investigations may lead to new changes in screening guidelines for women who have a family history of breast cancer but do not carry the predisposing genes.

The new finding, however, doesn’t mean that women should lose their courage to follow preventive measure and regular checkups for breast cancer which is already highly prevalent among the population, warned experts saying that only about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are genetic.

“These results support the standard clinical practice of advising noncarriers (of the mutations) that they do not have any increase in breast cancer risk attributable to the family-specific BRCA mutation and, in the absence of other strong risk factors, should follow general population guidelines for breast cancer screening,”‌ researchers wrote in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Source: presstv.com

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