SOYMB have posted here upon how being poor is a contributing factor for developing cancer.Now experts say there is a genetic explanation for why women from poor backgrounds are less likely to beat breast cancer.The study, published the British Journal of Cancer, found women in the lowest socio-economic groups were "significantly more likely" to have a relapse and die from breast cancer compared with those in more affluent categories.
The p53 gene is a "tumour suppressor", telling cells with cancerous or pre-cancerous changes to self-destruct before they can thrive. However, when it mutates, that ability is reduced or removed, making the appearance of cancer far more likely. Women from deprived postcodes were more likely to have a p53 mutation, and were less likely to have survived cancer-free.It is thought that lifestyle factors associated with poverty, including smoking, drinking and an unhealthy diet, could make the p53 mutation more likely to occur. In healthy humans, the p53 protein, which suppresses cancer, is continually produced and degraded in the cell but if the gene becomes damaged, or mutates, then the body's ability to suppress tumours is severely reduced.
Dr Lee Baker, who led the study, said: "This research makes a strong link between p53 and deprivation, and then between p53 mutation and recurrence and death.As a social issue, it shows that if we lift people up the deprivation scale they will be less likely to have problems with their p53 gene, and go on to develop breast cancer. Deprivation alone doesn't cause breast cancer, but can affect prognosis when p53 is damaged as a result of lifestyle choices commonly associated with deprivation."