Hereditary cancers in women getting caught earlier

September 12, 2011 3:41:33 PM PDT
Women with a certain type of cancer-causing gene are known to be at a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Now a new study finds women with the BRCA mutation are being diagnosed with those cancers earlier than previous generations.

The reasons include better screening and finding cancers at earlier stages.

These findings are important because they validate recommendations that screening should begin at the age of 20 to 25 for women at risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The study appears in the journal "Cancer."

Experts say the results should inspire younger women with BRCA mutations to follow screening guidelines.