Mayo researchers help discover cancer-related genes

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A four-year international study involving the Mayo Clinic will play a major role in determining an individual's risk for three different cancers, FOX 9 reports.

The study involved more than 100 research groups and genetic testing of about 200,000 people. The data helped researchers uncover 74 genetic markers that can help predict whether someone will get breast, ovarian and prostate cancer in the future, twice the amount that were previously known.

The average woman has a 12 percent chance of getting cancer. Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Richard Couch, author of the study, says after it's determined a woman has one of two genes that doctors can already screen for, that number could jump to 65 percent.

In the realm of breast cancer risk, "At 65 percent, people actually often have prophylactic surgery. They have their ovaries and their breasts removed to reduce their risk of cancer, of getting it in the future. If you're as low as 20 percent, maybe you don't," Couch said.

The new genetic markers can help determine someone's individual risk so patients can seek treatment to catch cancers early or avoid them completely.

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