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Physicians are working on a new, more efficient way to predict breast cancer
Breast cancer is a dangerous disease that threatens the health and life of many women worldwide. Researchers have now found that a new way to predict breast cancer could prevent about 30 percent of all breast cancers. This would save the lives of numerous women.
Breast cancer screenings should be improved urgently to protect even more women worldwide from this form of the disease. US researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the National Cancer Institute have now found that around 30 percent of all breast cancers could be prevented if we introduced more effective methods to predict breast cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Oncology".
Breast cancer frightens many women. Now medical professionals are developing a new prediction method that could prevent up to 30 percent of all breast cancers. (Image: SENTELLO / fotolia.com)
One in eight American women develop breast cancer
On average, one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in their lives, the experts say. However, this is only a national average. Because the relative influence of genes, behavior and environmental factors on cancer risk is becoming increasingly clear, medical professionals are looking for ways to reduce the risk at these levers. A 30-year-old woman in the United States has a probability of developing breast cancer that is between 4.4 percent and 23.5 percent, the authors say. The new study concludes that more than 29 percent of all cases of breast cancer could be prevented if all women looked after a healthy body weight, did not use menopausal hormone therapy, and also did not drink or smoke, the researchers explain.
Prediction needs to be more accurate and personalized
There has been uncertainty and controversy among experts for a long time about when and how often women should have a mammogram. It is also unclear whether women are taking hormone therapy or taking medication to reduce their risk of breast cancer, the doctors say. It is also questionable whether any side effects are worth such treatment. To make clear, meaningful decisions, we need better personalized predictions that determine how high the risk of cancer in individual women, the authors explain. Some women also need a little more motivation to make healthy behavior changes - especially if they are overweight women or drinking and smoking women, the scientists add.
Standard prediction model looks for the known gene mutations BRCA 1 and BRCA
So far, the so-called Gail model was used for the standard breast cancer prediction. This risk calculator generally considered a woman's age, breast cancer in her family, onset of menstruation, number of pregnancies, breast biopsies, and any abnormalities from mammography, the researchers explain. If family history shows other breast cancer, genetic tests look for two known gene mutations: BRCA 1 and BRCA. The experts warn that these can increase the risk of breast cancer five-fold in women. Furthermore, doctors can take factors such as overweight or alcohol consumption into account.
Study examines data from 37,000 women
The new study by epidemiologists and biostatists from Johns Hopkins University and the National Cancer Institute tries to improve the standard breast cancer prediction. It was found that women who developed breast cancer due to factors that they could not influence were mostly women who were most likely to reduce the risk of breast cancer if they paid more attention to healthy body weight, did not use hormone replacement therapy and would not smoke or drink, say the experts. For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data from eight different older studies. These monitored approximately 37,000 mostly white women in the United States, Europe and Australia, the authors say. The experts then used the data to create a risk model for the population.
The new prediction model has great potential
To determine the risk of breast cancer, which depends on fixed and unchangeable factors, such as genes, doctors looked at the genetic information of women. There, they paid particular attention to 24 so-called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), which have already been loosely associated with breast cancer, say the scientists. A further 68 SNPs were less researched but had a reputation for causing breast cancer. The researchers tried to find out how often they occur and how much they affect breast cancer.
In addition, they included other factors to calculate breast cancer risk. These factors have also been used previously. For example, the onset of menstruation, pregnancies and age, explain the doctors. Only then does the new prediction model determine how high the breast cancer risk of those affected by immutable factors. Then factors are asked that control or influence the risk of breast cancer. Such a model has great potential and could help many women reduce their risk of breast cancer in the future, the experts add. (As)