New study identifies four types of breast cancer

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A new breast cancer study is making waves and may eventually change the way breast cancer is treated. It classifies breast cancers into four distinct types.

The study is the first comprehensive genetic analysis of breast cancer.

A major result of this research indicates that basal-like breast cancers—the type that resembles ovarian cancer and a type of lung cancer—may be treatable with a new type of drug, PARP inhibitors, that appears to help with ovarian cancers.

These basal-like breast cancers are most prevalent in younger women, in African-Americans and in women with breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Read Study Divides Breast Cancer Into Four Distinct Types. (New York Times)

While this study does sound promising, it will be years before new treatments are actually in use. Those with breast cancer can often be disappointed and even misled by such reports of new advances in research. It can be difficult to understand what medical studies actually mean for real life. It can also take a long time – decades even – for research to be turned into practice. Read about what this study may actually mean in Breast cancer research sometimes misunderstood (CBC).