Looks like it is time men got their share from women in the inheritance of cancer as well. A genetic mutation linked with a greater risk of breast and ovarian cancers also significantly increases the danger of some cancers in men according to a new research.
Genetic mechanisms have been examined in the familial inheritance of breast cancer among women and the mutation in the BRCA2 gene is associated with increased risk in women who have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
What makes the news all the more interesting is that now this mutation has also been associated with an increased risk of pancreatic and prostate cancers in men. The mutation may also increase the risk of bone and throat cancers.
139 families were investigated, analyzing the presence of 66 different mutations of the BRCA2 gene between them. The families were picked from a national register of families with breast and ovarian cancers in several relatives.
The researchers avoided the known carriers of the gene and instead studied the incidence of cancer among their family members who had a 50% chance of being a carrier - this amounted to 1,811 people.
Out of 441 people tested for BRCA2, just over two thirds (69%) carried the mutation. In total the researchers found 158 cancers among the 303 carriers of the genetic mutation. This compared to just 18 cases in the 138 who did not have the gene mutation.
The researchers also found higher numbers of prostate, pancreatic, pharyngeal and bone cancers than would be expected in the general population.
Compared to the general population, carriers of the BRCA2 mutation were almost seven times more likely to have pharyngeal cancer and eight times more likely to have pancreatic cancer.
The above finding only emphasizes on the need for early screening strategies and an understanding of the role of heredity in the development of cancer in either sex, which could pave way for better treatment options regarding the same.