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Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2008

New breast cancer test may predict risk better

December 13, 2008

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— A new test to predict an ordinary woman’s odds of getting breast cancer works better than a method doctors have relied on for decades, researchers reported Friday.

The test is the first to combine dozens of genes and personal factors like age and childbearing to gauge risk in women who don’t have a strong family history of the disease. They account for three-fourths of all cases.

In a California study to check its validity, the test correctly classified 50 percent more women with breast cancer as high risk than the current method did, and properly scored others lower. Results were given at a cancer conference in Texas.

But don’t rush out to get it, cancer specialists plead. Even though this test and several others claiming to predict risk are available, more research is needed to prove their worth, they say.

“The market is being flooded with all these tests making all these claims,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

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