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.