This Molecule Could Tell You Whether Your Early-Stage Breast Cancer Will Become Invasive

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As scientists continue to study breast cancer’s effect on the body, it’s becoming more apparent how nuanced the disease is. According to the Guardian, United Kingdom-based researchers have found a moleculethat can show which forms of cancer may develop into more invasive types.

Louise Jones, a professor at Queen Mary University of London’s Barts Cancer Institute, is a co-author of the study that was funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign. The molecule discovered by the researchers is called alpha v beta 6, and it may be able to inform doctors which ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early form of cancer, will become more dangerous.

“We often pick this [DCIS] up in screening, which means that women are 50 or older, and if it takes 30 years for that disease to progress, watching and waiting might be a sensible way to go,” Jones told the source.

Luckily, the future of breast cancer care may allow for more of that. The investigation into which cancers will grow quickly and which won’t will help doctors and patients determine the correct course of action for treatment. Patients of the future will not have to go through the other scenario Jones points out:

“It’s difficult for women to accept that they might need to have a mastectomy for something that you don’t know is going to harm them.”

The research may soon lead to a test that doctors can perform to help plan breast cancer treatment.

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