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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Breast cancer: not only women...

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Doctors are encouraging a new group of people to consider getting tested for genes that raise the risk of breast cancer: men. Male relatives of women with such genes often do not realize that they, too, may carry them, and face greater odds of developing male breast cancer, as well as prostate, pancreatic and skin cancer, new research suggests.

''Everyone thinks of breast and ovarian cancer and just assumes it's all women. They don't even realize these genes can be inherited from the father's side of the family,'' said Dr. Mary Daly of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

After seeing breast cancer in several male patients who did not know they were at risk, Daly conducted a small study, which was presented Friday at a conference in Texas. She now is trying to convince more fathers, sons and brothers of women with the genes to get tested.

''Very few of them want to,'' she said.

Breast cancer is the most common major cancer in American women. More than 178,000 new cases, and more than 40,000 deaths from it, are expected in the U.S. this year.

But men get it, too -- about 2,030 cases are estimated to occur this year

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