Some women are more likely to develop cancer in both breasts — and certain gene mutations may be the cause

Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers found women with specific genetic mutations have higher risk of developing cancer in both breasts.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, used data from 15,104 women treated with surgery for invasive breast cancer. Researchers found patients who carry a germline BRCA1, BRCA2 or CHEK2 mutation have a twofold increased risk of developing cancer in both breasts, known as contralateral breast cancer.

"These are the first population-based numbers out there for these three genes beyond BRCA1/2," Fergus Couch, PhD, breast cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the principal investigator of the Cancer Risk Estimates Related to Susceptibility Study, said in the release. "It is also one of the largest studies to provide estimates of contralateral breast cancer risk by age at diagnosis, menopausal status and race/ethnicity in germline mutation carriers."

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