More promising news about the future of discovering and preventing breast cancer has been released.
Researchers have come up with a new method that will allow doctors to test a woman’s genes to uncover their breast cancer risk. The new breast cancer risk test involves a simple blood test.
The Cancer Research UK told the BBC that this new breast cancer risk test is “hugely significant.” It is also felt that the new test will make finding all of the various genes responsible for breast cancer happen faster.
So far seven genes have been discovered that can be linked with breast cancer. Five have just been found in research carried out by Cancer Research UK. This research was announced on Sunday and published in a UK science journal called. ‘Nature’. The other two genes were discovered two years ago.
Previously the analysis of a person’s genes was a very long process. The new method can test a person’s genes in a matter of hours. The blood sample taken from a women is compared to an known healthy person by using a computer. The computer will find differences in the two gene samples highlighting the genes that could be responsible for causing breast cancer.
This process, researchers believe could uncover every gene that causes breast cancer in only a few months. When speaking with the BBC, the director of Cancer Research UK, Professor Douglas Easton said, “Now we know these search methods are effective, we think that many more breast cancer genes can be found.” He also said, “These methods are already being applied by Cancer Research UK to find genes for a whole range of other cancers, including prostate, bowel and lung cancer.”
It is currently thought that around 10 percent of breast cancer cases are due to genes, inherited. It is thought that the rest of breast cancer cases are a result of lifestyle. By early discovery of breast cancer genes, many women can be watched according to their risk, saving lives.
The head author of the research, from Cancer Research UK, Professor Bruce Ponder said, “We’ll continue to search for more genes, but we’ll also focus on unravelling this information so that we’re ready to offer advice to women who carry one or more of these faulty genes in the future.”
Currently breast cancer is the deadliest and the most frequent cancer found in women according to the World Health Organisation. For example, two years ago, 2005, saw 1 percent of deaths throughout the world caused by breast cancer. This means that 502,000 people died in 2005 as a result of breast cancer.