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Swab test traces breast cancer risk

A new mouth swab test will help trace the risk of breast cancer for women, doctors have announced.

The technology will allow specialists to develop a screening programme based on an individual's genetic risk and personal circumstances.

Professor Gordon Wishart, Medical Director of Breasthealth UK, said: "It is emerging that breast cancer is not one but a number of different diseases.

"Although genetic testing is still a relatively young technique, when combined with proven methods to elicit lifestyle, it can provide breast surgeons with new insights into detection and prevention of this disease.

"By introducing the test within a clinical environment it will be possible to evaluate it with real women and provide the evidence base that is needed for wider adoption of this technology."

The Breasthealth Risk Assessment Service will be available privately, and looks at variations in seven gene sites that can help determine cancer risk, then combines this with family history factors.

Jackie Harris, a specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: "This new test from Breasthealth UK, combined with comprehensive clinical trials, can only add to our understanding of this.

"However, services already exist within the NHS for assessing risk based on family history and anyone with concerns should see their GP, who can also give advice on lifestyle choices and breast cancer risk."

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