Friday, November 19, 2021

Unnoticed breast cancer gene found to be almost as perilous as better known ones such as BRCA

Mutations of PALB2 can raise a woman's risk of breast cancer nearly as much as better known mutations like BRCA. 

According to a recent story by Susan Berger in The New York Times, doctors "are increasingly recomending that anyone who was tested before 2014 go through genetic testing again" — to look for the PALB2 gene, which also raises a patient"s chances of contracting ovarian and pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Peter Hulick

The Times article quotes Dr. Peter Hulick, medical director of the Mark R. Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill., as saying that "raising awareness with physicians and patients is critical, otherwise patients are getting an incomplete genetic assessment." 

Earlier this year, the American College of Medical Genetics and Gonomics advised that "women with PALB2 mutations be surveilled similarly to patients with BRCA mutations, and that, depending on family history, mastectomies could be an option to reduce the risk in some patients," Berger's piece reports. 

The Times article further notes that guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancert Network, as well as the genetics organization,"suggest women with the PALB2 mutation should have breast MRIs and mammograms, alternating every six months." The guidance was based on peer-reviewed evidence by a global team of experts in cancer genetics.

Hulick also said, according to the story, that "the risk of developing breast cancer was 40 to 60 percent greater among women with the PALB2 mutation, similar to the risk from BRCA." 

More informatiom about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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