A new study published in The Lancet Oncology journal has found that a particular gene previously thought to be linked to lower cancer survival rates, does not affect the chances of a patient’s overall survival of breast and ovarian cancers.
BRCA mutations are an inherited mutation occurring in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, and place women at a greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. (Between 40-90% of women with BRCA mutations are likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer in their lifetime, compared with 12.5% of women developing breast cancer overall).*
The current practice for women with BRCA mutations who receive early breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, is to perform a double mastectomy soon after initial cancer treatment, to reduce the risk of new primary cancers developing.
This new study, which involved 127 hospitals across the UK and included 2,733 women, assessed young women with breast cancer, and found that those with the BRCA mutation who did not immediately receive risk-reducing surgery had similar survival rates after cancer treatment to women who did not carry the mutation.
According to the findings, women with the mutation can wait two, five, or even ten years after diagnosis to undergo additional surgery, instead of soon after their initial cancer treatment.
This means that surgeries such as mastectomies do not have to be performed immediately after other treatment on women with BRCA mutations, and should instead be discussed with various factors in mind, such as the patient’s personal preference and initial cancer prognosis.
This is great news for BRCA patients, allowing for better time for recovery.
*Figures relate to UK statistics.
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