About a thousand researchers worldwide contributed to the research, which studied 250,000 people – half of them healthy, the other half suffering from either breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. Both groups underwent genetic analyses as researchers hunted for so-called "genetic markers", which differed between the groups.
"We found 80 markers that differed between those who had cancer and those who are healthy, and that means these 80 variations affect the risk of getting cancer," says Hall.
Hall says that by using all these genetic markers, it is possible to identify a very small group of men and women who are at a much higher risk of getting one of these cancers. This could eventually help these men and women, along with their doctors, make better decisions about what kind of preventative action to take.