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Women with breast cancer with no genetic link, are not fully utilizing breast cancer services
Date:9/26/2011

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer, but no genetic link, are not fully utilising breast cancer services to their reduce risk

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer, but no genetic link, are not consistent in how they perceive their risk or in their efforts to manage the risk, leading some women to not adequately access breast cancer services, a University of Melbourne study has found.

The study was led by Dr Louise Keogh from the Centre for Women's Health, Gender and Society at the University of Melbourne and published in the journal Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice.

The aim of the study was to explore how women at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer, without a known genetic mutation perceived and managed their risk. The women were recruited from a population based sample.

Around 5 percent or 300,000 Australian women have a moderate or potentially high risk for breast cancer due to family history with no identified genetic explanation.

"Depending on their family history, these women have up to a 1 in 3 chance of getting cancer which is much higher than the population risk of 1 in eleven. Yet there was little consistency in how these women regarded their risk and managed it," Dr Keogh said.

The 24 women in the study had at least one first- or second-degree relative diagnosed with the disease before age 50, and some had up to three first degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer. None had a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation identified in their family.

"Our study revealed that a woman can consider herself to have a '1 in 3' chance of getting breast cancer, but believe she is not the 'one' who will get cancer in her family, while another may interpret a '1 in 3' chance of getting cancer, to mean that she will definitely die of breast cancer," she said.

The women displayed several different 'risk management styles'. These included 'vigilant' preven
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Contact: Rebecca Scott
Rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert

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