Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Cancer caused by BRCA gene less risky than thought

Cancer caused by BRCA gene less risky than thought

In related news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that they have approved the first drug aimed at treating metastatic breast cancers linked to the BRCA gene mutation.

Young breast cancer patients with faulty BRCA genes have the same survival chances as those without, a study has found.

The women's medical records were tracked for up to 10 years.

Most of the women lived 10 years; 73 percent of the women with BRCA mutations lived 10 years and 70 percent of women without the mutations did.

About a third of those with the BRCA mutation had a double mastectomy to remove both breasts after being diagnosed with cancer, the same surgery Jolie went through.

"Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment", Eccles noted.

Women who carry a risky cancer gene have the same survival chances as other women with breast tumours, researchers have found.

Past studies have suggested 45%-90% of women with the mutation develop breast cancer during their lifetime, compared to roughly 12.5% of women developing breast cancer in their lifetime overall in the UK.

A study of 1.8 million women demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer with hormonal contraceptive use - including combined oral contraception (COC), progestin-only pills (POPs), and intrauterine systems - with a dose-response relationship. This surgery did not appear to improve their chances of survival at the 10-year mark, according to the findings published in The Lancet Oncology.

BRCA mutations can cause cancer because the DNA self-repair mechanisms can malfunction.

The women, who were recruited between 2000 and 2008, were monitored for an average of 8.2 years to discover more about their treatment, whether their cancer returned, or if they died.

PALB2 - Works similarly to the BRCA genes.

Angelina Jolie had a preventative mastectomy, before she developed cancer.

"Our data provides some reassurance that patients who are diagnosed with a BRCA gene fault as part of their cancer treatment journey can complete and recover from their breast cancer treatment, which is important", she said.

'Decisions about timing of additional surgery to reduce future cancer risks should take into account patient prognosis after their first cancer, and their personal preferences'.

Professor Peter Fasching, from Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, added: "This important topic needs more prospective research as preventive surgical measures might have an effect on what might be a very long life after a diagnosis of breast cancer at a young age".

Katherine Woods, from charity Breast Cancer Now said the findings "could enable many patients to make even more informed choices regarding their treatment".

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