Testing all women aged 30 and above for gene mutations related to cancer may prevent the disease, a new recently published research finds. Researchers say the approach is also cost-effective when compared to today's methods.
Angelina Jolie Gene: BRCA1 Gene
Nowadays, doctors tend to offer women testing for gene mutations related to cancer only if the disease was known to run in their families.
This was the case for American actress, Angelina Jolie. She reportedly lost eight family members to cancer before she made the brave decision to have her breasts, ovaries, and fallopian tubes removed.
In other words, she inherited breast cancer and the BRCA1 gene, which is one of the most well-known cancer-causing genes besides BRCA2.
Now, in a new study, researchers from the Queen Mary University Of London in the United Kingdom discovered that testing all women, including those who are not considered to be at risk, is much more beneficial and has many advantages.
New Method To Prevent Cancers
According to the study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, testing all 27 million British women aged 30 and above in the country would prevent cancer effectively and save more lives. The researchers also say that this method is more cost-effective than current methods.
What Would Happen?
According to the research, the new method would prevent around 64,500 more breast cancers and around 17,500 more ovarian cancers in the United Kingdom. It would also save about 12,300 more lives.
The study also suggested that the new approach would be cost effective not only in the United Kingdom but also for health systems in the United States.
"Our analysis shows that population testing for breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations is the most cost-effective strategy which can prevent these cancers in high risk women and save lives," said Dr. Rosa Legood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
"This approach can have important implications given the effective options that are available for ovarian and breast cancer risk management and prevention for women at increased risk," Legood continued.
The research was conducted in partnership with researchers from the Barts Health NHS Trust and was also supported by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
BRCA1 And BRCA 2: Chances Of Developing Cancer?
Women who carry either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation would have about 17 percent to 44 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer. They also would have a 69 percent to 72 percent chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime.
Women who do not carry these gene mutations, on the other hand, would have only a 2 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer, and a 12 percent chance of getting breast cancer.