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Researchers find protein that may initiate breast cancer to spread

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland and the University of California San Francisco found a protein that may trigger breast cancer to spread throughout the body.

The protein, called hepsin, was found to blanket the surface of breast tumor cells, and it can help release the cells from the matrix of the tissue. This results in the tumor cells spreading to various other tissues.

"If we could delay or prevent a tumor from switching from one that grows in place to one that invades, then that would be a major milestone in cancer treatment," said study co-author Dr. Zena Werb, a professor of anatomy at UCSF.

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, one in eight women in the U.S. will eventually be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes. it is recommended that once a woman turns 40, she schedules an annual mammogram to ensure that if she does have the disease, it is caught in the early stages.
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