Breast cancer just got a makeover, and the proof is in the findings from a new study linking the disease to genetic mutation, which is a heritable change in a person’s DNA sequence. Researchers disovered that there are four distinct genetic types of breast cancer after studying the tumors of 825 patients at various stages of the disease. So, what does this mean for women and men who have breast cancer? (Yes, men can be diagnosed with it, as well.)
Doctors should look into creating personalized treatments for their patients, since no two people’s genetic compositions are identitical. And while this doesn’t guarantee a cure for breast cancer patients, it does offer a sprinkle of hope that one day we will find that cure.
Even more, researchers found that the disease known as triple-negative breast cancer, one of the more deathly types of the disease, genetically resembles a treatable form of ovarian cancer. Thus, drugs that are used to treat other cancers may be used to treat these forms of breast cancer because of the their similar abnormalities.
The study, published Sunday in the journal Nature, is part of a larger project called Cancer Genome Atlas, which also focuses on the genetic mapping of 19 other cancers. Breast cancer alone will kill about 39,510 women this year, as noted on the American Cancer Society website. It also reads that cancer death rates have been going down. With the findings from this study, the only way to go is up—or down in this case.