The very same genetic mutation which has been previously linked to the development of breast cancer in women may also be responsible for some cancers in men.
According to researchers in Holland, the BRAC2 gene mutation, which has been linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, has now been found to raise quite markedly the risk of pancreatic and prostate cancers in men.
The Dutch researchers who conducted the study also suggest that there might be a connection between the mutated gene and an increased risk of bone and throat cancers.
Apparently the researchers found that carriers of the mutated gene were seven times more likely to have pharyngeal cancer and eight times more likely to have pancreatic cancer than the general population.
It also appeared that male carriers were more than twice as likely to have prostate cancer.
The researchers say that as almost half of the men with prostate cancer had died, early and radical treatment should be offered to men carrying the mutated gene rather than the current practice of simply watching and waiting.
The research is published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.