Not All Risk Is Equal

21Dec09

Found an article from last year’s U.S. News and World Report called BRCA Mutations Don’t Raise Breast Cancer Risk Equally. This was the topic of my post on Risk Diversity. Happy to see there is some mainstream news on it, but as the researcher quoted in the article notes:

“To some extent, people have traditionally perceived the risk as being a fixed thing,” Begg said. “People have studied BRCA1 and 2 separately, but, other than that, there’s the sense that if you’re a carrier, you have a certain risk, and it’s a high risk, and that’s it.”

Is the message getting out that our risks are diverse? And besides the difference of our mutations, it may also be because there are other genetic factors that we do not currently know about:

“Risk among carriers varies considerably, and, if you accept that that’s the case, there must be a reason why it varies, and the most plausible explanation is that there are other genetic factors affecting breast cancer risk that are being passed on through these families,” said study author Colin Begg, chairman of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

This is exactly what excited me about the last post on the cancer genomes. The research of the International Cancer Genome Consortium will hopefully lead to new breakthroughs in understanding what the other genetic factors affecting our risks are.

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