Most of us have about a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer in our lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. But that number shoots up if you carry the BRCA-1 mutation; 65 percent of women who have a family history of cancer will end up developing the disease by the time they're 70. Many of these women--like Angelina Jolie--have gotten mastectomies to prevent those cells from turning into tumors, which was one of the surest ways to prevent breast cancer if you carried these genes.
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Perhaps not for much longer. A new study has found that a drug used to treat osteoporosis has the potential to block cells from morphing into cancerous tumors in women with this genetic mutation. Researchers hope that the drug, known as denosumab, could prevent or delay breast cancer in women at high-risk for developing the disease. At the very least, it could buy them time before they underwent mastectomies.
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So far, the drug has stopped cell growth in mice and lab samples; but it has also been given to three women with the BRCA-1 mutation with promising results, said doctors. And clinical trials are set to begin in the next couple of years at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
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