Gene discovery to identify women with cancer risk

A single genetic fault in a gene that normally helps the body to repair its DNA increases a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer six-fold, a study has found.

One in every 11 women who carry the faulty gene is likely to develop ovarian cancer at some point in her life compared with a typical risk of about one in 70 for women in the general population, scientists said. The research involved analysing the genomes of more than 900 families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer to see if they carry any genetic faults that could account for their higher risk of developing the disease compared with the general population. About 6,500 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year – the fifth most common cancer – and the scientists estimated that between 40 and 50 of these women are likely to carry faults in a DNA-repair gene known as RAD51D. Read more…

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