DNA Testing – Predicting Breast Cancer
Some types of cancer are caused because of faulty genes – could DNA testing be the answer we need to save lives? DNA was discovered only just over fifty years ago, and yet scientists are making considerable leaps and bounds every year in showing what DNA and genetics can do. And now, what has been acclaimed as this decade’s most significant advance in the fight against breast cancer has now happened – scientists are using DNA testing and research to identify new breast cancer genes.
DNA Testing – Genetic Markers
The identification of a new group of common genetic markers for breast cancer means scientists are now able to confirm that women with relatives with the disease are twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer themselves. Two of the four genes, if faulty, show that there is up to a 60% chance of developing the cancer. The breakthrough and identification means scientists can now work on DNA testing to help to identify the genetic risk of the disease in the future, so this can now be used as a preventative tool. There are hopes that the breakthrough will help scientists develop DNA testing to enable them to identify and also understand other cancers – which will bring them another step closer to finding a cure.
Genetic and Familial Links
It is common knowledge that breast cancer has strong family links. It’s hoped that in future years DNA testing will be able to tell if you have the faulty gene. The discovery of this gene can prove the theory that if you do have the same faulty gene as a close relative with the disease, you are then more at risk of developing breast cancer. Having the faulty gene however does not mean you will develop cancer, but cancer is twice as common in those who do have a close relative with breast cancer as a result of the faulty gene.
DNA Testing – Understanding Cancer
Cancer specialists have stated that this discovery points the way to the future understanding of the genetics of cancer. DNA testing on thousands of women has helped scientists to identify four genes that are responsible for the increased risk of the disease. Around 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to have a genetic link. The DNA tests and recent genetic discovery accounts for around 4% of those cases, although this accounts for a relatively small proportion of the number of women being diagnosed, it is a step towards developing DNA tests and genetic screening.
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