Letter: A little hope, not hype

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jon Turney, in his feature on the search for the breast cancer gene BRCA1 ('Kudos and chaos in a cancer breakthrough', 6 June), makes the point that the hype when it is discovered will not just be 'all got up by the press' and that the cancer charities will be anxious to promote their role in any discovery. May we, as one of the charities named, make a couple of points.

We are ever mindful of the impact this news will have on anxious women and have always painstakingly spelt out that this gene is responsible for only a tiny percentage of breast cancers - so we are not interested in hype.

However, these sorts of discoveries cost money and it is entirely appropriate that we should tell the public when their money has made advances possible. Without them, none of our work - and that's a third of all the cancer research carried out in the UK - could happen.

Yours faithfully,

MARGARET WILLSON

Deputy Head of Public Relations, Imperial Cancer Research Fund

London, WC2

6 June

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