Curing Hereditary Breast Cancer

In developed countries, breast cancer affects about one in ten women, and in many of these countries the disease is on the increase. But, whatever the reason (or reasons) for the rise in their occurrence, we also know that between 5% and 10% of breast cancers are due to an inherited defect that affects the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Women carrying a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have roughly an 80% risk of developing breast cancer. A mutation in these genes also leads to an increased risk of developing ovarian tumors.

When the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were discovered more than a decade ago, there were high hopes for novel and targeted therapies. Disappointingly, no new treatments have yet arisen. As a result, many women with a high level of mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes face the tragic choice of having their breasts and ovaries surgically removed to pre-empt cancer.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.