Genetics more than heredity boost breast-cancer risk

More and more women are deciding to undergo genetic testing for breast cancer – and for good reason.

Although only 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, women with breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 or 2 abnormalities may have up to an 80 percent risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes.

“Knowing that you carry a mutation in one of the BRCA genes opens up numerous options for early diagnosis and cancer prevention,” says Dr. David Euhus, a surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer recently, this information is critical for making treatment decisions.”

Dr. Euhus offers the following checklist to help individuals decide whether they should consider genetic testing for breast cancer:

  • Three or more blood relatives on the same side of the family diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • A family history of ovarian cancer.
  • A relative on either side of the family diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45.
  • Being of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
  • A family member who had triple negative breast cancer before age 60.
  • Any male in the family who has had breast cancer.
  • Female relatives who have had cancer in both breasts.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/cancer to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Media Contact: Jan Jarvis

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