- Women with a family history of breast cancer face no worse outcomes after treatment than those with no close relatives diagnosed with the disease
- Breast cancer recurrence rates are no higher in people with a family history
- Experts said findings could reassure women worried about their genetics
Women with a family history of breast cancer fare just as well after treatment as those with no history of the disease, a study has found.
Researchers found breast cancer recurrence rates are no higher in women with close relatives who have been diagnosed with the illness than those who don’t.
Ramsey Cutress, an associate professor in breast surgery at the University of Southampton, said his team’s findings could reassure women worried about how their genetics might affect their cancer treatment.
Women with a family history of breast cancer fare just as well after treatment as those with no history of the disease, a study found (file photo)
He said: ‘Successful treatment for breast cancer is just as likely in young patients with a family history of breast cancer, as in those without a family history.
‘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.’
It is known that having close relatives who have had breast cancer or ovarian cancer increases the risk of developing these diseases, although most cases do not run in families.
Particular genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, increase the risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer and it’s possible for these genes to be passed on from a parent to their child.
A third gene, TP53, is also associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Mr Cutress and his team examined the cases of 2,850 women as part of the The Prospective Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) study.
They were all under the age of 41 and were diagnosed with breast cancer and treated in the UK.
The researchers found that there were no significant differences in cancer recurrence rates after treatment for women with a history of breast cancer in their family compared with those without.
Researchers said the findings could reassure women worried their genetics might affect their treatment
Now, they plan to investigate whether the genes which are known to increase the risk of breast cancer have any impact on the effectiveness of different anti-cancer treatments, including chemotherapy.
Professor Diana Eccles, also of the University of Southampton and the principal investigator in the study said: ‘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.
The study published in the British Journal of Surgery and was funded by Cancer Research UK.