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Feminist News


September-29-95

1% of Ashkenazi Jews in the United States Carry Breast Cancer Gene Defect

A study published today in the journal Nature Genetics found that one percent of American Jewish women of Ashkenazi descent carry a mutation of the gene, BRCA1, associated with breast cancer. The discovery has great promise of allowing scientis ts to gain a better understanding of the incidence of breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer and the mutated gene, 185delAG, have an eighty to ninety percent chance of getting the disease. They also have a forty to fifty percent chan ce of getting colon cancer. A new study is beginning immediately to determine exactly how much of a cancer risk the mutation signifies for Jewish women without a history of breast cancer in their family. Unfortunately, no known cure exists for cancer and genetic testing raises questions of what therapy to provide for persons with positive results.

Media Resources: New York Times - Sept. 29, 1995