A revolution in cancer screening and treatment within 15 years is heralded today with the announcement of a leap in the ability to identify genes that cause the disease.
Researchers are confident that their findings will allow a screening programme, in which the inherited risk of developing cancer can be assessed for every patient, to be in place in an estimated 12-15 years.
Four common genes were identified and a fifth is on the verge of being pinpointed by researchers investigating the causes of breast cancer, almost doubling the number of known rogue genes.
One of the new genes, when found in a mutated form, increases the risk of developing the cancer by up to 60 per cent ”” giving a woman a one in six chance of the disease. Its most damaging variant is carried by one in six women, making it much more common than previously identified genes that contribute to breast cancer.