How young will you be when you get cancer? The number of mutations you have in different genes can bring that date closer.
We already know that mutations in cancer genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase cancer risk. But now David Thomas at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney and his colleagues have shown for the first time that mutations in genes associated with a lower cancer risk can little by little add up to an even deadlier effect.
“Cancer is a disease where you accumulate stepwise genetic variants,” says Thomas. “This means that the more genetic variation you carry, the earlier in life you’re likely to develop it.”
Looking across multiple genes should allow cancers to be detected sooner, before they become fatal…It may one day become routine to screen people for high-risk combinations of mutations in genes previously considered to have little relevance to cancer risk.
Thomas’s team is now offering whole body MRI scans to people with mutations like these in their DNA….
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