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BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations Increase Risk of Most Cancers

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. Mutations of these genes disable the genes’ anticancer functions, thus raising the risk of developing breast cancer and other female reproductive cancers like ovarian cancer.  Mutations of these genes drastically increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment suggests that simply engaging in physical exercise and sports activity may significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who carry BRCA1/2 mutations.

For the study, Anouk Pijpe at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and colleagues studied the association between self-reported lifetime sports activity and breast cancer risk in a study population including 725 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, of whom 218 had been diagnosed with breast cancer, within 10 years prior to the survey about their lifestyle.

This is not a radical finding.  Just like smoking increases your chances for lung cancer in activity increases your chances for most cancers, as does the type of diet that most people who don’t exercise tend to have.   This study rather lends hope that having either, or both of these mutations is not a guarantee that you will develop a cancer.

Breast cancer will be diagnosed in more than 175,000 women and kills about 50,000 each year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. One in eight women in this country is expected to develop the disease sooner or later in their lifetime.