A new study shows that two genes mutations, which are connected in all medical surveys with a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, may also be associated with an increased risk of deadly uterine cancer. The genes are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Both of them produce tumor suppressor proteins that prevent women from developing cancer. When one of these two genes is altered or suffers a mutation, the protein is not produced anymore, and the women`s bodies do not have the means to correct some cell alterations that can lead to cancer.
Both these genes have confirmed connections with a raised risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Just to understand how high the risks are, it is important to mention that some women consider having both breasts and their ovaries removed to make sure they prevent any possibility of developing the disease.
Even though it may seem a bit excessive, the numbers support this decision. According to the National Cancer Institute, around 12 percent of women will develop a form of breast cancer during their lives. However, when someone inherits one of these mutations, the statistic changes entirely.
An estimated 55 to 65 percent of the women who have a BCRA1 mutation and more than 45 percent of those who have a BCRA2 mutation will suffer from breast cancer by the age of 70.
Moreover, a new study suggests that these two genetic alterations can also increase the risk of developing aggressive forms of uterine cancer. The researchers kept under observation around 1,100 women from the U.S. with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
The examination was carried out over a span of almost five years to establish if these genetic aberrations are responsible for other types of cancer. During the research period, eight women developed uterine cancer. Even though the incidence of uterine cancer was not higher than the statistic, five of those uterine cancers were highly aggressive, an uncommon fact compared to the same statistic.
Moreover, four of those five cases of extremely aggressive uterine cancer developed in women with BCRA1 mutations.
These results may help women with BCRA1 and BCRA2 mutations decide what is the best strategy to prevent any form of cancer that can be fatal. However, one of the researchers involved in the study advises that further surveys are needed to confirm or dismiss the findings in this study.
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