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National study into breast cancer affecting younger women

Published: 
20 January 2003

A new study by University of Southampton scientists aims to establish whether women who can trace their breast cancer back to genetic causes fare better or worse than those who develop it by chance.

Dr Diana Eccles is embarking on a three-year project involving 2,000 newly-diagnosed women under the age of 40. She hopes 35 centres around the country will take part and supply information. The work is being financed by grants from the PPP medical trust and Wessex Cancer Trust totalling £160,000, and supported by the National Cancer Research Network.

Women taking part in the survey have to contribute a DNA sample and give details of their medical history, diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Eccles said: "A lot has been learned about the development of breast cancer but most of the research so far has been on older women. We want to see if cancers in young women with genetic links respond differently to treatment. Eventually we hope to be able to tell from small tumours both how serious the cancer will be and how best we can treat it."

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The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.

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