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The breast cancer is the most common among women. In Pakistan, about 22,000 cases are diagnosed each year – in most of them, those affected are between 45 and 65 years old; it is estimated that 12% of Pakistani women will suffer at some point-, which represents just over 28% of all female tumors , according to the data handled by the Association Against Cancer. In recent decades, treatments and screening tests have improved markedly. This last aspect is especially important, since it will determine to a large extent the possibilities of healing.
Until now, the most used technique to prevent this disease has been mammography, which is sometimes complemented by an ultrasound and mammary nuclear magnetic resonance. Sometimes other minimally invasive tests are also performed, such as punctures or biopsies. However, a new system called Brecanrisk, which combines genetic analysis and imaging studies , could facilitate this process and even favor individualized and adapted prevention for each patient.
Detection of risk cases
In a statement, the Spanish biomedical group ASCIRES, which has promoted this project, points out that the procedure allows women to be classified according to their risk of breast cancer. To do this, a bioinformatic algorithm is used that filters and analyzes the information gathered through three tests: a mammogram, the woman’s clinical history -a specially designed test allows knowing the personal factors that can influence her predisposition to develop a tumor- and its genetic information – a DNA analysis is carried out from a blood sample.
“This method will help us detect the group of high-risk women, which would give us a great advantage in their follow-up and personalized treatment,” says Javier Benítez, Brecanrisk’s scientific advisor and director of the Human Cancer Genetics Program at the National Center of Oncological Investigations. In addition to this institution, the National Genotyping Center, the University Clinical Hospital of Valencia, the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), the Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness and the Health Research Institute have collaborated in this initiative.
In the aforementioned report, it is also pointed out that this approach will improve the breast cancer screening programs ; its integration into the health system would allow a unique genetic test to be carried out at an early age, which would have a beneficial impact on health. “Brecanrisk considers both genetic and non-genetic factors and mammary image analysis. With this method, the woman could know what her risk of developing this type of cancer would be, “says Benítez. This would significantly affect the way he tracks. “In the medium term, there may not be a reason to do mammograms biannually for all women over 45; Genetics do not change throughout life, “he explains.