A Gene That ‘Causes Cancer’ Probably Doesn’t Increase Your Chances of Dying From Cancer

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About 97 percent of women survived for more than two years after their diagnosis, while more than 83 percent and more than 70 percent survived for five and 10 years post-diagnosis, respectively. That lines up fairly well with data from the United States; about 89 percent of women with breast cancer survive for five years or more, according to the National Cancer Institute. About 12 percent of women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life.

Actor and director Angelina Jolie attends The 23rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics’ Choice Awards

Cancer geneticist and study author Dr. Diana Eccles told NBC News that her findings suggest that women who have been diagnosed don’t necessarily need to follow Jolie’s lead and get double mastectomies if they’re getting other treatment. (Outside experts echoed that perspective to the BBC.)

These results don’t mean the BRCA mutations aren’t important; they still increase the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancers in the first place, for example.

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