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World's largest breast cancer study will interview 60,000 women

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Researchers are about to embark upon the world’s largest study into the causes of breast cancer, which will require 60,000 female volunteers.

They are trying to identify what puts women at a greater risk of developing breast cancer, in order to arrange more frequent scanning for those affected.

Over the next three years, women who attend an NHS breast screening programme in Greater Manchester will be asked if they want to get involved.

Those that do will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about their family’s medical history and their lifestyle.

One in six will also be asked to give a saliva DNA sample, which researchers hope will provide information about genetic variations known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Lead researcher Professor Gareth Evans said: “Once we have the information we require, our researchers, through computer programming, will be able to calculate a woman’s risk. All will be given the option of knowing their outcome and if it’s high, advice and guidance will be offered.”

The study, being carried out by researchers from the Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre, at Wythenshawe Hospital, is being funded by a £1.59m National Institute for Health Research grant.

The Genesis Appeal, a charity dedicated to breast cancer prevention, is funding the DNA sample kits.

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