Simple new blood test could identify genes linked to breast cancer risk

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After studying 122,977 cases of ER-positive cases, researchers can explain an additional 4 percent of that heritable breast cancer risk. In the last couple of decades, breast cancer-related mortality has shown a declining trend because of early detection and improved treatment.

By comparing the genes of those diagnosed with the condition with those who had no history of breast cancer, the researchers were able to identify 65 variations of genes that contributed to the disease's development. "It is estimated that worldwide over 508 000 women died in 2011 due to breast cancer", WHO.

In contrast to mutations affecting the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are pretty rare - only one woman in 400 is a carrier - but that increase tenfold (1000 % increase) the risk of developing breast cancer, these 72 genetic variations, which are in addition to 108 other already known, are fairly common in the population.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

"We have developed new methods to try and predict what these genetic variants are doing and what genes they are acting on".

'There are some clear patterns in the genetic variants that should help us understand why some women are predisposed to breast cancer, and which genes and mechanisms are involved'.

However most of the new variants found were in gene-regulating regions.

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Doctors think they've found a link between breast cancer and the bacteria in our bodies.

"Scientists are not in competition against each other", said professor Peter Kraft of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

However, not all cancer cells carry this receptor - these are known as oestrogen-receptor negative.

Among breast cancer sufferers, those who rely on herbs, homeopathy or energy crystals to beat their disease are 5.68 times more at risk of an early death, a study found. Your weight, activity level, alcohol consumption and breast density may determine your risk of breast cancer.

Read the full ER-negative study in Nature Genetics.

Saturday's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on City Island drew more than 6,000 participants and raised more than $650,000, the American Cancer Society announced Tuesday. However, we have developed a mathematical algorithm that incorporates the effect of each of the variations worn by a woman and which calculates from this the probability of her developing breast cancer, " says Simard, who sees in this new tool a way to identify women without a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, but who are at high risk of suffering from such a cancer.

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