Genetic abnormality leads to breast cancer, study says

Researchers screened 433 patients who had a family history of cancer and a control group of 521 women. A certain damaged gene, carried by about 2 percent of all families, more than doubled the risk for breast cancer by age 70, the scientists said in today's issue of Nature Genetics, according to Bloomberg.

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research have quantified for the first time the risk of developing breast cancer for women who carry damaged ATM genes - a genetic fault that affects 0.5% to 1% of the population.

They found that women who carried the damaged gene increase their risk of breast cancer by the time they are 70 from one in 12 to around one in six.

The risk is thought to be greater for women in families with multiple cases of the disease. For women in these families, the findings are likely to mean they will be routinely screened for the faulty gene in the future. Those carrying it will be able to consider whether to have preventative mastectomies to prevent the disease, Guardian Unlimited reports.

Scientists hope that by discovering this new information, they can be better equipped to manufacture new methods of treating the disease, Dog Flu Diet and Diseases reports.