e to identify new risk factors for breast cancer, and there's a certain amount of debate as to whether this is a worthwhile exercise or not. There's only a point to searching if something is to be found there," Begg explained. "This kind of study suggests that there is something to be found, and that it is worthwhile doing these studies not just on mutation carriers but on people with breast cancer on the whole. Our premise is that the additional breast cancer risk factors that will be found will be applicable to carriers just like to anyone else."
"This is a very, very interesting article, and very important. These two genes represent about 7 percent of all breast cancers and usually account for breast cancer in families and in young women," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La. "We're understanding more about how patients can accept the risk that has been assigned to them. This is a very important paper going forward."
There's an overview of the genetics of breast cancer at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Colin Begg, Ph.D., chairman, department of epidemiology and biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Jay Brooks, M.D., chairman, hematology/oncology, Ochsner Health System, Baton Rouge, La.; Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Jan. 9/16, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association
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