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Clearer Risk

A new genetic risk test for breast cancer is being rolled out in the UK, the Guardian reports.

The test examines 18 SNPs that influence breast cancer disease risk, and it is to first be available to women with a family history of disease who are undergoing testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, it adds.

According to the Guardian, the test aims to clarify women's disease risk and lower rates of preventative mastectomies. BBC News adds that most women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations are told that they have up to an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer, but that Manchester University's Gareth Evans, who developed the new test, says it's really a wide range of risk.

He and his colleagues used the SNP test alongside other health data to determine whether 451 women with family histories of breast cancer were at high or low risk of developing disease, the Guardian says. A portion of women who'd been placed in the high-risk category were re-assigned to the low-risk group for which risk-reducing breast removal surgery is not recommended.

The BBC adds that Evans and his colleagues are teaming up with researchers in the US, Australia, and Europe to examine samples from 60,000 women to uncover additional genetic variants to include in the test.