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Breast cancer risk calculator unveiled

Wednesday January 16th, 2019

A new method of calculating breast cancer risk is to be available for wide use by primary care practitioners and genetic counsellors, it has been announced.

Professor Antonis Antoniou of the University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues created the predictive tool by combining information on family history, genetics, weight, age at menopause, alcohol consumption and use of hormone replacement therapy.

It is described in detail in yesterday's (15 January) Genetics in Medicine.

They explain that being able to predict an individual's risk of breast cancer "allows systematic identification of individuals at highest and lowest risk". Their new tool is based on the Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (known as BOADICEA) but includes more risk factors.

They write: "This comprehensive model should enable high levels of breast cancer risk stratification in the general population and women with family history, and facilitate individualised, informed decision-making on prevention therapies and screening."

The tool will be available online for GPs, practice nurses and genetic counsellors to use in their surgeries.

Professor Antoniou said: "This is the first time that anyone has combined so many elements into one breast cancer prediction tool. It could be a game changer for breast cancer because now we can identify large numbers of women with different levels of risk - not just women who are at high risk.

"This should help doctors to tailor the care they provide depending on their patients' level of risk. We hope this means more people can be diagnosed early and survive their disease for longer, but more research and trials are needed before we will fully understand how this could be used."

Lee, A. et al. BOADICEA: a comprehensive breast cancer risk prediction model incorporating genetic and nongenetic risk factors. Genetics in Medicine 15 January 2019; doi: 10.1038/s41436-018-0406-9

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41436-018-0406-9

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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