Scientists are developing a way to detect a woman’s risk of breast or ovarian cancer – all by a simple blood test.
It will be the first reliable way that researchers have been able to predict how likely contracting non-inherited breast cancer is.
Even with no genetic predisposition to breast cancer, unlike Angelia Jolie’s case where she was promoted to undergo a double mastectomy, the blood test will be able to show the likelihood of contracting the disease for up to 10 years.
The study, from scientists at the University College London, has identified a ‘signature’ in women with a mutated gene linked to cancer.
But the same signature has also been found in women without the gene, therefore able to predict the risk of breast cancer several years before diagnosis.
Dr Matthew Lam, senior research officer at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, says:
‘This could mean that in the future a woman may be able to have a simple blood test to look for this DNA signature, and therefore know if she is at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. If she does have this signature, she could then work with her doctor to explore the options available to help her take control of her own risk.’
Nearly 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, with almost 12,00 deaths.