Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 12:03 UK

Cancer study for 60,000 patients

Breast tumour
Patients attending for mammograms will be asked to take part

Health researchers in Manchester are looking for 60,000 women to take part in a huge study into predicting the risk of breast cancer.

The Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre, based at Wythenshawe Hospital, says it is the world's largest study of its kind.

Women who attend the NHS breast screening programme will be asked to take part in the five-year study.

Currently one in 10 women in the UK will develop breast cancer.

Those taking part will fill in a questionnaire based on lifestyle and family history of the disease, and their mammograms will be used to check breast density.

One in six of the women will be asked to provide a saliva DNA sample.

'Invitation only'

The study will look at known genetic variations that can increase the risk of suffering breast cancer by up to 40%, alongside the diet, exercise, age, pregnancy and menopause.

The research team led by Prof Gareth Evans, of the Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre, hopes the findings of the trial will result in changes to the length of time women are recalled for breast screening, based on their risk of developing breast cancer.

He said: "Women will be recruited by invitation only. 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 to talk through the choices available."

The research is being funded by a £1.59m National Institute for Health Research programme grant.

Additional support is being provided by the Genesis Appeal.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK, with 44,000 diagnoses a year.

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