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Consumer genetic test results ‘causing unnecessary breast cancer alarm’

Women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene variants may be told of higher cancer risk without accounting for family history

Women are being unnecessarily alarmed about their risk of breast cancer by consumer genetic test results that do not take family history into account, researchers have said.

Women who discover outside a clinical setting that they carry a disease-causing variant of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes may be told that their risk of breast cancer is 60-80%. But analysis of UK Biobank data suggests the risk could be less than 20% for those who do not have a close relative with the condition.

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