Genetics in the News

Breast Cancer

Introduction

Many women today suffer from breast cancer. This breast cancer can be life threatening or just a very simple lump to be removed; either way it is scary. Everyone wants there to be a cure for all cancers but how close to a cure can we get to by just studying genetics? Many news articles show the advancements that are being made with the study of cancer in genetics alone. This flyer explores the advancements made in breast cancer so far. Some of these advances include finding gene variants and exploring their arrangements, finding a genetic variant in a specific type of ethnicity, and the probability of one to develop breast cancer given certain circumstances.

This article's main topic is how genomic sequencing can help reduce the number of breast cancer cases seen. 86 gene variants were studied and arranged to see what sequences had a high risk of developing breast cancer. Although it is not cost effective to have your genes sequenced at birth, it is becoming more cost effective. If one knows at an early age they are at high risk for breast cancer, they will be able to take precautions to help prevent them from developing breast cancer.

Fejerman conducted a study of Latino women and breast cancer. Latino women are already found to be at less risk for breast cancer due to lifestyle differences (drinking less alcohol, having more children, and breast feeding longer). Not only do these things affect Latino women's chance of developing breast cancer, but a gene variant was found in 1 of 5 latino women. If this variant is present, it reduces the risk of breast cancer by 40% and if two of the variants are present it reduces the risk by 80%. This variant can now be studied and could be used in the future as a way to treat and prevent breast cancer.
In this article the BRCA genes are discussed. Everyone has the BRCA genes but about 5-10% of people have an inherited mutation in one of these genes that increases their risk to develop breast cancer by 87%. If one does have these gene mutations it does not guarantee that you will develop breast cancer. This article also discusses many ways for prevention and early detection to better the outcome with someone who may develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Worthiness and Importance of this Knowledge

This knowledge of breast cancer is very important for it can help prevent someone from developing the cancer. Knowing the advancements that are being made can help someone determine if they want to get their genome sequenced or not. Finding out you have an 87% chance of getting breast cancer can be very scary, but science is expanding everyday and knowing you are at high risk for breast cancer, you will be able to do things to prevent that from happening. This knowledge is not only important to individuals but also to science so more advancements can be made that hopefully, one day, a cure can be found for breast cancer, and all other cancers.

Impact on Future Medicine

As discussed a little previously this information about the genetics in breast cancer can lead to advancements in science and medicine. Finding a variant in Latinos can be used to potentially find a cure or something to deactivate mutations in the BRCA genes, which, eventually, could lead to a cure or treatment for breast cancer. On a large scale, if we use the knowledge we know about the genetics in breast cancer, this can be used to make further advancements in medicine with all other cancers. Every little step helps and impacts the future of medicine.

Roles of the Nurse

A nurse has many roles when it comes to the topic of breast cancer. As a nurse it is your responsibility to care for these patients and let them know what exactly is happening to them. With the research that is being done, nurses are able to refer some of their patients to a genetic counselor and suggest that they get their genome sequenced. Genome sequencing will help to see if they are at risk for breast cancer and the nurse can then help guide them in the right life choices. The nurse will be at the center of care for the patient be and with them along their journey, and the nurses role is to try and make that journey (rather short or long) as easy as they can for the patient and promote their health and well being.

References

Bach, B. (2014, October 28). Genetic screening could reduce number of breast cancer cases. Retrieved November 16, 2014 from http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/10/genetic-screening-could-reduce-number-of-breast-cancer-cases.html


Dembosky, A. (2014, October 24). Genetic Variant Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Rates in Latinas. Retrieved November 16, 2014 from http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2014/10/24/genetic-variant-linked-to-lower-breast-cancer-rates-in-latinas/


Cullinane, C. (2014, October 19). Finding Links Between Breast Cancer and Your Genes. Retrieved November 16, 2014 from http://tbrnews.com/finding-links-between-breast-cancer-and-your-genes/article_8bd6d746-562f-11e4-ae3d-97b6b9b8668b.html