Shaare Zedek Research: Early Awareness of BRCA 1 and 2 Mutations Significantly Increases Breast Cancer Survival Rate
Research conducted at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center has revealed the importance for early screening of specific genetic mutations related to breast cancer. The study showed that only two out of 42 women who went into their breast cancer diagnoses knowing they were carriers of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations died from the disease. This is compared to 16 out of 63 who died when they found out they were carriers after their diagnoses.
Professor Ephrat Levy Lahad, Director of the Fuld Department of Medical Genetics at Shaare Zedek stressed the significance of the findings, “It’s important that every woman knows if she is a carrier of these mutations. By having this knowledge, we can carefully monitor the woman’s overall health and perform additional monitoring leading to earlier diagnosis which can be nothing less than life-saving.”
It has already been well-established that women carrying the BRCA 1 and 2 genetic mutations have a significantly increased risk for both breast and ovarian cancers.
This study, conducted by Professor Levy-Lahad (pictured right) and Dr. Tal Hadar (pictured left) of the Breast Surgery Unit at Shaare Zedek and published in the Journal JAMA Oncology, showed that women who contracted breast cancer already knowing they were carriers, were diagnosed earlier on in the progression of the disease, fared better and required less aggressive treatment.
Among the most significant findings of the research was data showing that women aware of their genetic predisposition to the disease had a significantly higher survival rate. Five years after diagnosis, 94 percent of these women were still alive as compared to 78 percent in the group of those who only found out after the diagnosis.