A simple blood test could reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer

By Amanda Stewart,

Researchers believe that they have found a new way to test a woman’s risk for breast cancer even if there is no presence of a mutated gene.

The findings to this research were published in the journal Genome Medicine.

The new test looks for how the DNA functions, while others before this looked for gene mutations. This is extremely important because most breast cancer is not caused by gene mutations, according to NBC News.

Scientists hope that the new test available will be able to drastically decrease the number of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, according to Daily Mail.

Only 40 percent of breast cancer cases can be explained due to genetics. That leaves the majority of cases (60 percent) due to things like diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol use.

"Women who carry the signature are at particularly higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future," said Martin Widschwendter, who led the study.

Widschwendter and his colleagues took blood samples from women with and without the BRCA1 gene mutation before they developed breast cancer.

“It was able to predict breast cancer risk several years before diagnosis,” Widschwendter said. He said that the changes could have been caused by factors like, obesity and drinking too much alcohol.

The simple blood test consistently was able to predict breast cancer as early as 12 years prior to diagnosis.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and will be diagnosed more than 200,000 times this year and kill around 40,000 women.

The ways to prevent breast cancer are still debated quite often. When should a woman begin getting mammograms - age 40 or age 50? How often should you receive a mammogram - every year, every other year or every three years?

The blood test could help doctors tailor screening as well as reduce risk of breast cancer among patients.

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