How do survival rates differ? And why?
Even though women with BRCA1 and 2 gene mutations have a higher risk of ovarian cancer, this does not mean that if they are diagnosed, their diagnosis will indicate worse symptoms and outcomes. As a matter of fact, a study published back in 2008 found that BRCA gene carriers who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have better survival rates than non-carriers. The study, conducted among 605 participants, found that BRCA1 and 2 carriers were more likely to live 5 years longer following their diagnosis as opposed to women without the gene mutations. Still, it is not understood whether this is due to better response to chemotherapy or particular traits in the actual tumor itself. This study was not the first to derive to such a conclusion, although it is the largest study to date and the first to follow women with ovarian cancer for a period of 6 years. From the results gathered, it was suggested that it may be necessary to treat BRCA and non-BRCA tumors differently, for the purpose of achieving better clinical outcomes.