CHICAGO (AP) — New research suggests that bad genes may be responsible for more breast cancer cases in black women than has been previously known. About 1 in 5 African-American women with the disease have an inherited mutation that drastically raises their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, according to a study released Monday.
It may help explain why black women have higher rates of breast cancer at young ages, a more aggressive form of the disease, and worse survival. It doesn’t mean that all black women are at risk or even that all blacks with cancer need genetic counseling or testing, said the study’s leader, Dr. Jane Churpek of the University of Chicago.
Experts offer some advice about what to make of this information:
Q. What are the genes?
A. Mostly BRCA1 and BRCA2. Everyone has two copies of these genes, and a mutation in one can give a woman up to an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 54 percent risk for ovarian cancer. Sixteen other genes also can raise risk but are thought to be less common.
Q. Why might blacks have high risk?
A. African-Americans’ genes are more diverse than those of many other racial and ethnic groups. Most of the mutations identified in this study were novel, or unique to each woman, Churpek said. It’s possible that more detailed tests in whites and other groups might find a higher prevalence of mutations than previous studies have found in them, too.
Q. Should more black women be tested?
A. National guidelines do not specify any groups that should be tested except Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish women with breast or ovarian cancer or a close relative who has had one of those diseases. Genetic counseling should be offered to black women who develop breast cancer before age 50, who have a close relative with the disease, or who have “triple-negative” breast cancer. Triple negative means tumors that are not fueled by estrogen, progesterone or the gene that the drug Herceptin targets.
Q. What can be done if a gene mutation is found?
A. Women who find the mutation after they have breast cancer may want to consider removing both breasts or their ovaries. Those who are screened before cancer develops can consider more frequent screening and prevention measures ranging from hormone-blocking drugs to removal of breasts and ovaries. They also can let relatives know about potential family risk.
Q. Why did this study find so many more gene flaws?
A. Standard tests look for just a few common mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. The tests cost around $3,000, and insurance will often cover them if a woman has a family history suggesting high risk. A second $750 test is needed to look for a different type of genetic flaw. That test often is not done or covered by insurance.
In the Chicago study, researchers decoded, or sequenced, all 18 genes tied to breast cancer risk, so it could pick up all types of mutations in any of them.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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