Flawed gene link to ovarian cancer

Scientists have identified a genetic flaw that can increase the risk of ovarian cancer

Scientists have identified a genetic flaw that can increase the risk of ovarian cancer

An international team of researchers, led by UK scientists, looked at the DNA of 17,000 women and found that women carrying two copies of the flawed gene increased their chance of getting cancer by 40%. Approximately 15% of UK women have both copies.

Cancer experts said it was an important discovery that could help manage the health of women who were at increased risk, according to BBC news.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK, with almost 7,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK. This leads to around 4,300 deaths each year. A family history of the cancer, breast cancer and/or being infertile or having fertility treatment, are all known to increase risk.

Dr Simon Gayther from UCL, who worked on the study, said: ‘There is now a genuine hope that as we find more genetic variants, we can start to identify the women at greatest risk and this could help doctors to diagnose the disease earlier when treatment has a better chance of being successful.’

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, added: ‘This is an important discovery. This research paves the way for scientists to discover even more genes linked to ovarian cancer and could lead to new approaches to treat or prevent the disease. Crucially it will help doctors manage women who are at increased risk.’

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