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Breast cancer treatment to be determined by gene test

Women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, may opt for mastectomy over breast-conserving lumpectomy if they test positive for a breast cancer gene mutation, researchers said California on Monday.

About 5% to 10% of all breast cancers are caused by an inherited genetic susceptibility. The majority of these cancers are linked to mutations or alterations in two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. It is estimated that mutation carriers have a 55% to 85% risk of breast cancer risk by age 70, while carriers with breast cancer have about a 35% 10-year risk of developing cancer in the opposite breast.

To determine the psychological impact of BRACA test results on women with breast cancer, Dr. Claudine Isaacs and colleagues at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., offered rapid genetic testing and counseling to 175 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who were candidates for either lumpectomy or mastectomy treatment.

The genetic testing and counseling changed the view of the patients and made them take up the surgery eagerly. This way, women were more willing to take up the painful decision of undergoing a mastectomy more cheerfully.

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