GENES AND RISK
ANCHOR LEAD: A NEW STUDY SUGGESTS THAT BREAST CANCER RISK RELATED TO GENES CAN’T BE CHANGED. ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Genetics are immutable, and the risk they confer related to the development of breast cancer s is something women must simply live with, right? That’s one interpretation of a recent study looking at genetic variations and subsequent development of breast cancer, but William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says that’s not his spin on this story.
NELSON: I think the problem with the way this story was covered perhaps suggested that was true but in fact the dominant cause of breast cancer, the dominant cause of all human cancer, are things in the environment that we can modulate and modify, lifestyle habits, diet, cigarette smoking, we have in our control, that we can reduce our risk of getting cancer. Yes, there are individual differences that we inherit that may make us a little more prone to get a cancer or not but the biggest ones are ones we can change. :28
Genes are just one part of the equation, Nelson says. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.