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Breast Cancer Doesn't Beget Endometrial Cancer

No hereditary link found, 20-year study concludes

TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Women with a family history of breast cancer aren't at a greater risk of developing endometrial cancer, says a new study in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

The 20-year study by American researchers included 37,500 former participants of the U.S. Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project.

The women were monitored for an average of 14 years during the study, which ran from 1979 to 1998. Their average age was 55 at the start of the monitoring. Information was also collected about breast cancer occurrence in close female relatives of the women in the study.

Over the period of the study, 648 women were diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Researchers found no evidence that breast cancer in either first- or second-degree female relatives increased the risk of endometrial cancer for women in the study.

The study did find a slightly increased endometrial cancer risk for women with a first-degree relative who had cancer in both breasts. However, the study found no evidence of a hereditary link in those cases.

Women in the study who had breast cancer were 30 percent more likely to develop endometrial cancer, but a family history of breast cancer wasn't a factor in that, the study concluded.

Endometrial and breast cancers have some common reproductive, hormonal and lifestyle risk factors. However, there is no conclusive evidence of a genetic link between the two cancers.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about endometrial cancer.

SOURCE: British Medical Association, news release, Nov. 4, 2002
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