23 May 2022

Breast Cancer Now has commented on new research published in Genetics in Medicine titled 'Breast cancer risk stratification in women of screening age: Incremental effects of adding mammographic density, polygenic risk, and a gene panel'.

Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, Senior Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Every year 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. Early detection can stop people dying from breast cancer, which is why we need research like this to understand how a more tailored approach to breast screening could work.

“Previous research has tested whether taking into account naturally occurring genetic variations, could help us better group women according to their likelihood of developing breast cancer, meaning, each group could be offered the most appropriate screening. This new research evaluated whether additionally testing for altered genes linked to breast cancer, which include altered BRCA1 and 2 genes - often known as the ‘Jolie gene’, could help more accurately group women according to their breast cancer risk. Inherited altered genes are the underlying cause of between 5-10% of breast cancers in the UK, so whilst relatively uncommon when you look at the UK population, for the women who do carry these high-risk genes, knowledge could be key to making preventative choices that reduce their breast cancer risk.

“We look forward to further research to establish whether this could be a practical future approach. Anyone who is concerned about their breast cancer risk can call Breast Cancer Now’s free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 to talk to one of our expert nurses.”