Leukemia breakthrough: Scientists find a critical clue in breast cancer survivors

Leukemia breakthrough: Scientists find a critical clue in breast cancer survivors

Experts have released new health guidelines on caring for breast cancer survivors.

A new study has found that 1 in 5 women have a genetic mutation that not only results in an increased risk of breast cancer, but also an increase risk of leukemia.

The study found that some breast cancer survivors develop leukemia related to therapy that scientists are trying to better understand, indicating that there is risk to treating breast cancer due to damage to nearby cells, according to a UPI report.

The longer breast cancer survivors live, the more the chance of leukemia increases due to treatments received from breast cancer.

These findings indicate that scientists will need to conduct a long-term follow-up study on women — both those who have and lack fhte inherited breast cancer gene mutations. This would allow the scientific community to understand if the genes impact the leukemia risk when receiving treatment for breast cancer, and if so what can be done about it.

To come to their conclusions, the researchers out of the University of Chicago examined 88 breast cancer survivors in the therapy-related leukemia registry. They found that 22 percent had a primary cancer — with the leukemia considered secondary cancer — and 57 percent had a family history of various types of cancers, including breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer. About 21 percent had an inherited gene mutation that made breast cancer more likely.

The findings indicate that more studies will be needed to find out how these genetic mutations affect other cancer types. It could lead to dramatic changes in how breast cancer patients are treated, and provide a critical new clue in the battle against leukemia.

The findings were published in the journal Cancer.

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