Breast cancer is something that “runs in the family”. We know that everyone inherits genes from their parents, and we know that mutations on certain genes can increase a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. A new study found that how well a person recovers from breast cancer is not linked to family history.
Genealogists spend a lot of time doing the research that is involved with putting together their family tree. In addition, many have also become interested in creating a medical family tree. The purpose is to get a better understanding of what diseases “run in the family”.
The health information that is in a medical family tree can be very useful. Your relatives can tell their doctors about the diseases that have affected many people in the family. The doctor can take that information and come up with a plan for prevention.
Genealogists can also use a direct-to-consumer DNA test to learn more about their genes. There are several of those tests on the market that can identify if a person has a mutation on their BRAC1 or BRAC2 genes. Those who have a mutation on either of those two genes have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
A study was done in May of 2015 that was called “Family history and outcome of young patients with breast cancer in the UK”. It was published in the British Journal of Surgery.
The study looked at the family history data that was available for 2,850 young people who had breast cancer. All of the women in the study were under the age of 41. Some of the women in the study had a family history of breast cancer, and some did not have any family history of breast cancer.
One of the researchers of the study was Ramsey Cutress. He is an associate professor in breast surgery at the University of Southampton in Britain. The Times of India has a quote from him in regards to this study.
“Successful treatment for breast cancer is just as likely in young patients with a family history of breast cancer, as in those without a family history”, said Ramsey Cutress. He also said “Patients with a family history of breast cancer can, therefore, be reassured that their family history alone does not mean that their outcome will be worse.
The key thing to take from the results of this study is that people who have a mutation on their BRAC1 or BRAC2 gene have the same chance of recovery from breast cancer as people who have breast cancer but do not have those specific mutations. The genes increase the risk of developing breast cancer, but they don’t have any affect on how well someone will recover from it.
Image by F.//Chicca// K. Silva on Flickr.
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