Understanding Breast Cancer Genetics

Hardback
This book by a scientist whose background is in cellular and molecular biology examines the fearsome disease that strikes one in eight women in the United States. Although women are more likely to die of heart disease or of lung cancer, a diagnosis of breast cancer is the medical pronouncement that a woman is most likely to fear. It kills more than 40,000 Americans annually. Why are some women more vulnerable than others? The interplay between genetics and environment is suspected. Thus this book for general readers will help them understand the genetic bases of both sporadic and inherited breast cancers. Although only five to ten percent of breast cancer patients have inherited mutations in these genes, all women need to understand the genetic implications of the disease. In clear, concise language Barbara T. Zimmerman guides the reader through the complexities, discussing in detail the genes that are known to increase susceptibility and the ways they are passed on. Examining the general biology of breast cancer, Zimmerman describes how sporadic and inherited forms of the disease arise and how the location of the tumors can affect the body. She discusses genetic mutations and their roles in the development of tumors and tells how these potentially cancer-inducing genes were discovered. Covered too are the issues of risk, prevention, screening, diagnosis, therapy, and genetic testing and counseling. Zimmerman concludes with a comprehensive analysis of current research and with an emphasis on how a woman's understanding of inherited breast cancer can help doctors seeking to design better methods for prevention and therapy. A useful list of resources for further information about the genetic causes of breast cancer is included. Barbara T. Zimmerman did her graduate work in experimental pathology and her post-doctoral research in the cellular and molecular processes of disease. Widely published, she is the manager of the Denver-based firm Biomedical Communication and Consulting.