Breast Cancer May Be Detected Years Before a Tumor Appears

breast cancerBreast cancer detection in the early stages makes a substantial difference in the chance of survival.  According to a BBC newsreport a genetic test could help predict breast cancer many years before the disease is ever diagnosed, experts are hopeful. Ultimately the discovery, in the journal Cancer Research, could pave the way for a simple blood test to screen women for breast cancer, they believe. The test analyzes how genes are altered by environmental factors including alcohol and hormones – a process known as epigenetics.

Breast Cancer Screening Advances

One in five women is believed to have such a genetic “switch” that doubles breast cancer risk. The scientists from Imperial College London analyzed blood samples from 1,380 women of different ages, 640 of whom later developed breast cancer. And they found a strong association between breast cancer risk and molecular changes to a single gene called ATM, which is found on white blood cells. They then searched for evidence of what was creating this change. Specifically, they were looking for a chemical effect called methylation, which is known to act as a “gene switch”. Women showing the highest methylation levels affecting the ATM gene were two times as likely to develop breast cancer compared to those with the lowest levels. In some cases the changes were apparent up to 11 years before a breast tumor was diagnosed.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis Early Benefits Patients

The resulst will need further study; however, the medical community agrees for the most part that the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated the better the chances are for survival. DrSeify consults with woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer and helps them to understand their breastreconstruction options. In many cases he works directly with the doctors participating in the patientstreatment in order to recommend the best breast reconstructive options. Breast reconstruction options continue to evolve every day. Dr Seify is participating in one of the few clinical studies for stem cell fat transfer being conducted in the US for breastaugmentation and breast reconstruction.  As more options becoming available patients are able to benefit from more aesthetically pleasing results.  

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