Family history of breast cancer doesn’t mean poor prognosis
A large study has found that women with breast cancer who have a known family history of the disease don’t face a worse prognosis than other women.
The study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, was completed after recording 2850 patients’ personal characteristics, tumour characteristics, treatment, and family history of breast/ovarian cancer over a 15-year period.
The women were all under 41 years old and were diagnosed and treated in the UK.
According to Mr. Ramsey Cutress, an Associate Professor in breast surgery at the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust, the results can provide great reassurance for patients with a family history who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Patients with a family history of breast cancer can therefore be reassured that their family history alone does not mean that their outcome will be worse,” he said.
Principal investigator Professor Diana Eccles said they are now determining whether breast cancer gene variants have any impact on different treatments for patients.
“There is some evidence in laboratory experiments and observations in humans that BRCA1 gene carriers in particular may be more sensitive to certain types of chemotherapy,” said Professor Eccles.
“If the outlook is more optimistic than might be expected for these patients, this will help in planning future preventive surgical options at the time of breast cancer treatment.”