Study findings improve accuracy of breast cancer risk estimates for women with no family history

A new multi-institution study led by Fergus Couch, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic pathologist, provides more accurate estimates of breast cancer risk for U.S. women who harbor inherited mutations in breast cancer predisposition genes. The findings of the CARRIERS Consortium study, which were published Wednesday, Jan. 20 in The New England Journal of Medicine, may allow health care providers to better assess the risk of breast cancer in women ― many of whom have no family history of breast cancer ― and provide more appropriate risk management strategies.

“Traditionally, genetic testing of inherited breast cancer genes has focused on women at high risk who have a strong family history of breast cancer or those who were diagnosed at an early age, such as under 45 years,” says Dr. Couch. He says current estimates of breast cancer risk provided to women when they are found to have a breast cancer mutation are actually appropriate only for those who are at high risk and not for women from the general population.

Watch: Dr. Fergus Couch discusses breast cancer risk study

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