No need for gene screens in breast cancer families

Jul 23, 2008

Research reported today should provide relief to women who are worried after a relative's breast cancer diagnosis. The study in the open access journal BMC Cancer shows that a family history of breast cancer does not give a useful indication of the likelihood that a woman will develop it herself at an early age.

An increased risk of breast cancer for relatives of breast cancer patients has been demonstrated in many studies. As physicians and the general population have become more aware of this increased risk, the demand for referring healthy women with a family history of breast cancer for intensive screening or genetic testing has risen. Geertruida H. de Bock led a team from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands who investigated whether the increased risk was significant enough to accurately predict breast cancer.

According to de Bock, "Due to the low prevalence of early breast cancer in the population, the predictive value of a family history of breast cancer was 13% before the age of 70, 11% before the age of 50, and 1% before the age of 30." These numbers are much lower than most women would probably expect. As the authors explain, "Applying family history related criteria results in the screening of many women who will not develop breast cancer at an early age."

Given the psychological harm that screening visits can cause, more stringent criteria should be applied to early screening. The researchers recommend that these results be used to "reassure a large number of women regarding their personal breast cancer risk."

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Why we should vaccinate boys against HPV as well as girls

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Advancing medicine, layer by layer

Jul 02, 2014

Personalized cancer treatments and better bone implants could grow from techniques demonstrated by graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah, who are both working in chemical engineering professor ...

Recommended for you

Why we should vaccinate boys against HPV as well as girls

2 minutes ago

Gillian Prue, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University of Belfast, says that the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is common in men and can lead to genital warts and the development of some head and ...

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

12 hours ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

12 hours ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Jul 23, 2008
Protect the child from X-ray!!!!!