Contralateral Breast Cancer Risk in BRCA Gene Mutation Carriers
Posted Nov 12 2009 12:00am
Past research has made it clear that women with genetically inherited forms of breast cancer are at increased risk for breast cancer recurrence. However, the factors associated with this increased risk remain unclear. A new breast cancer research study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology was conducted to estimate the risk of developing cancer in the opposite breast (contralateral breast cancer) in patients who were members of families known to be positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations and to determine what factors might affect that risk.
For this study, research investigators examined data from over 2,000 women with unilateral breast cancer from 978 families with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. Statistical analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between age at first breast cancer and the amount of time between the first breast cancer and the opposite breast cancer. This relationship was examined for both types of breast cancer gene mutations. The results of this breast cancer research study showed:
Overall contralateral breast cancer risk 25 years after first breast cancer was nearly 50%.
Members of families with BRCA1 gene mutations were at nearly twice the risk for contralateral breast cancer risk than members of families with the BRCA2 gene mutation.
For patients with the BRCA1 gene mutation, diagnosis of first breast cancer before the age of 40 was associated with a 63% increased risk for contralateral breast cancer compared to only a 20% increased risk for patients initially diagnosed after 50 years of age.
An editorial that is free to read was published along with the original research study and can be found HERE.
These new research findings enhance our breast cancer awareness about some of the factors associated with increased contralateral breast cancer risk. By knowing more about what might be responsible for a second cancer in the opposite breast, medical professionals can become better equipped to discuss breast cancer treatment options designed specifically for an individual patient's level of future risk. For breast cancer patients, increased awareness of their personal breast cancer risk might help them make more informed, and potentially less stressful, decisions regarding their breast cancer treatment options. The results from this study could prove to be an important step in improving personalized care for breast cancer patients.
Each of us can also make personal lifestyle choices to reduce our breast cancer risk. To learn more about some of the important choices you can make, read my book, Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Caner, at www.fightBCnow.com.