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Hispanic Women Have High Rates of Cancer Gene Mutations

Researchers find 30 percent incidence of hereditary BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations

THURSDAY, Aug. 11, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Young Hispanic women with breast cancer have high rates of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene (BRCA1 and BRCA2) mutations, according to new research.

The gene mutations are linked to a 50 percent to 80 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer and up to a 50 percent lifetime risk of ovarian cancer, says a study by researchers at the City of Hope Cancer Center in California.

The study found a 30.9 percent incidence of these gene mutations in Hispanic women with cancer. The results highlight the importance of cancer screening and prevention programs for Hispanic women.

The study appears in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"The findings from this study add to the body of knowledge about BRCA mutation prevalence in the rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic population," Dr. Jeffrey N. Weitzel, director of the department of clinical cancer genetics at the City of Hope Cancer Center, said in a prepared statement.

"Genetic cancer risk assessment requires attention to ethnicity. Hispanic women should be aware of their risk factors," Weitzel said.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women, according to the American Cancer Society.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about Hispanic women's health issues.

SOURCE: City of Hope Cancer Center, news release, Aug. 9, 2005
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