Breast cancer testing tool?

Are claims of the testing tool premature from the media?

NHS

Media claims of breast cancer testing tool are premature

The UK media has reported on a "game changing" breast cancer gene test. The Times made the bold statement that "Women will be told their exact lifetime risk of getting breast cancer . . . allowing some to take drugs to prevent the disease". The Mail Online said that "GPs will use an online tool to predict women's risk".

The media headlines are premature. We are not at the point where all women are about to be invited for a breast cancer gene test.

The new study reports the development of a breast cancer risk prediction model called the Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm or BOADICEA for short.

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Cancer Research

Breast cancer symptoms

The first symptom of breast cancer most people notice is a lump in their breast or some thickening.

Breast lump

The first symptom of breast cancer for many women is a lump in their breast. But 9 out of 10 breast lumps (90%) are benign. That means they are not cancers.

But if you spot a lump, see your doctor straight away.

Change in size, shape or feel of a breast

Your breast might look bigger or have a different shape than usual. It might feel different. Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender before their period.

Get to know the size, shape and feel of your breasts. See your doctor if you notice any changes or anything that is unusual for you.

Breast pain

Breast pain is very common and it’s not normally due to cancer. You might get pain in one or both breasts for a while, which goes after a time. There might be no obvious reason for this pain, even if you have a lot of tests.

See your doctor if you have breast pain.

Skin changes

Skin changes include puckering, dimpling, a rash, or redness of the skin of the breast.

The skin might look like orange peel or the texture might feel different. This can be caused by other breast conditions but get your doctor to check out anything that is not normal for you.

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The Times

New test will reveal risk of getting breast cancer

Women will be told their exact lifetime risk of getting breast cancer thanks to a "game-changing" test allowing some to take drugs to prevent the disease.

The method, being piloted by NHS specialists, looks at DNA and family history as well as lifestyle information such as how many children a woman has and how much she drinks.

On average, 11.5 per cent of women will develop breast cancer, but the test can identify the one in a hundred who have a 3 per cent risk as well as the same number who have a 31 per cent chance of getting the disease.

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