New take on breast cancer risk

ladyNot all women from families with a history of breast cancer face a high risk of developing the disease, a major international study has found. It contradicts previous research that found women who did not carry a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer were just as likely to develop the disease as close relatives who had the gene defect.

The latest study, the biggest of its kind, was based on an analysis of 3000 families from Australia, Canada and the United States with a history of breast cancer.

It found women without the genetic mutation known as BRCA1 or BRCA2 – despite their mothers, sisters, aunts or grandmothers being carrier, were no more likely than women in the general population to develop breast cancer.

Kurian, AW, et al. Breast Cancer Risk for Noncarriers of Family-Specific BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations: Findings From the Breast Cancer Family Registry JCO October 31, 2011 doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.34.4440


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