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New Research Study May Lead to Personalized Approach to Breast Cancer Screenings
Date:8/10/2009

Research May Yield Alternatives to Traditional Annual Mammogram

San Diego, CA (Vocus) August 10, 2009 -- A new research study could potentially pave the way for a more individualized approach to women's breast cancer screenings, making each person's genetic makeup a key factor in guiding how often they get tested.

The study by Scripps Health will initially assess whether a woman's likelihood of developing breast cancer can be more accurately predicted by the presence of recently discovered common DNA variants that are associated with the disease. If these low-risk variants prove predictive, healthy women could be divided into three different categories for breast cancer screening, instead of just one.

"During the past two years alone we've seen the discovery of about a dozen common DNA variants strongly associated with increased risk for breast cancer, but there hasn't been a study yet to see just how specific and sensitive these markers are to predict breast cancer," said Sarah S. Murray, Ph.D., one of the study's investigators and director of genetics with Scripps Genomic Medicine. "If we can quantify people's risk better, we can be smarter about the way we go about screening."

Current breast cancer screening protocols are based largely on age, family history and ethnicity, with annual mammograms recommended for healthy women starting at age 40, according to the American Cancer Society.


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