Thursday, August 20, 2009
Doctors at Scripps Health are trying to find out whether a combination of genetic markers can predict a woman's chance of getting breast cancer.
SAN DIEGO Doctors at Scripps Health are trying to find out whether a combination of genetic markers can predict a woman's chance of getting breast cancer.
Tests have identified about a dozen genetic markers that are commonly found in women diagnosed with breast cancer. Sarah Murray, with Scripps Genomic Medicine, says the presence of any one of those markers may pose a 10 to 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer. But she says such a small risk elevation wouldn't prompt most people to be more vigilant. So Scripps wants to identify women who have two or more of those markers and find out how likely they are to get cancer.
"Once we understand that we can use that to help shape how we can recommend women's breast screening regimens," says Murray.
She says women who have a very high risk of breast cancer may choose to have an MRI test, rather than a mammogram. She says genetic tests could be a better predictor of breast cancer risk than family history.