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 Way to spot breast cancer years in advance

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Belinda Ongaro



Number of posts : 32
Registration date : 2012-02-02

PostSubject: Way to spot breast cancer years in advance   Wed May 02, 2012 8:27 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17905601
The article and accompanying video discuss recent advances in epigenetics (a field of genetics that focuses on the influence of environmental factors on the genes) that could lead to the development of a simple blood test to screen women for breast cancer before it takes form. Through the analysis of blood samples from over a thousand women, scientists at the Imperial College of London have identified a distinguishing factor that predisposes one in five women to breast cancer. Genetic modification to ATM, a single gene found on white blood cells, is believed to be the cause for a doubled risk of breast cancer development in predisposed individuals. The modification would occur by means of a gene switch, caused by a chemical effect called methylation, which can be detected in the blood. High levels of methylation occurring in the blood indicate an increased risk of developing breast cancer. In some cases this was detected as many as 11 years before a tumor could be diagnosed. Through this study, scientists have come to realize that the risk of disease in individuals is dependent on both genetic variation and epigenetic variation in individuals, an idea that opens new doors in the medical field and in the study of disease prevention. The goal in developing this blood test is that individuals at risk can be closely monitored and made aware of treatment or preventative measures they can take, in hopes of ensuring the greatest chance of survival for affected women.
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Suzanne Sawatski



Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2012-02-10

PostSubject: Re: Way to spot breast cancer years in advance   Wed May 02, 2012 10:45 pm

I just read this article as well and found it very interesting. Through this advancement scientists are able to continue learning about not only breast cancer, but cancer in general. With hopes of finding other genes that also contribute to an individuals risk of developing this disease, scientist maybe be able to develop an accurate blood test that doctors can used, paired with family history of developing breast cancer, to predict a womans chance of being diagnosed with a breast tumour. With this information, woman at risk would be able to be monitored and even undergo preventative surgery, giving them a higher rate of survival.
It is amazing how far cancer research has come and all that science has discovered about the disease. With the ability to hopefully accurately predict breast cancer, ways to predict other forms of cancer might unravel soon as well, and maybe sooner than believed a cure or medication (other than chemothearpy or radiation) for cancer may be found.
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