A new mechanism which switches off a gene in families affected by breast and ovarian cancer was been identifier through research co-led by Professors Gareth Evans and Bill Newman and Dr Miriam Smith from the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine and The University of Manchester. Known as epigenetic silencing, the research has been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics today. The research was funded by Prevent Breast Cancer and the NIHR.
Rebekah, 26 from Manchester, has a family history of early on-set breast cancer and is from one of the two families where this new variation has been identified. She said:
With such a strong family history of breast cancer, I was always aware that I might be at higher risk. When my mum was told she didn’t carry the BRCA mutation but did have this new genetic change, I decided I needed to know my risk too. Knowledge is power, so I wanted to be on the front foot and have a clear understanding of my own risk of getting breast cancer.
Thankfully, I tested as negative which means that I don’t have a raised risk. Knowing this has changed my outlook; I’m not going to be spending my life worrying about getting cancer – and any kids I later have won’t be at higher risk, either.
Rebekah, from Manchester