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Causes of Cancer
There have to be a number of genetic mutations within a cell before it becomes cancerous.  Sometimes we are born with one of these mutations already.  This does not mean we will get cancer.  But with one mutation from the outset, it makes it more likely statistically that we will.  Doctors call this 'genetic predisposition'.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes are examples of genetic predisposition.  Women who carry one of these faulty genes have a higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not.

The BRCA genes are good examples for another reason.  Most women with breast cancer do not have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene.  Less than 5% of all breast cancer is due to these genes.  So although women with one of these genes are individually more likely to get breast cancer, most breast cancer is not caused by a high risk inherited gene fault.

This is true of other common cancers where some people have a genetic predisposition, for example colon (large bowel) cancer.

Researchers are looking at the genes of people with cancer in a study called SEARCH.  They also hope to find out more about how other factors might interact with genes to increase the risk of cancer.  Information about this study is on our clinical trials database.  Please note that you cannot volunteer for this study.