GENETICS

Understanding your genetic predisposition to breast cancer can help you and your doctor make more informed decisions about your health. Whether or not you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, it might have important implications for you and your family. We can perform a simple test to find out if women carry a BRCA gene mutation or a mutation in another gene that makes you high risk for cancer. Knowing your genetic status empowers you to take life-saving steps such as: (1) start cancer screening at an earlier age, (2) take risk-reducing medication, or (3) elect to undergo preventive surgery.

Most women who carry a genetic mutation, such as in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, are unaware that they do. For example, a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes increases a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer from 12% to up to 85%. The role of the BRCA gene is to help repair damaged DNA or destroy cells when DNA can't be repaired. It acts like a "brake pedal" in the cell to prevent uncontrolled growth. If the BRCA gene itself is damaged, it cannot function properly and allows the damaged DNA cells to duplicate without control, resulting in an almost guaranteed development of breast cancer at some point during the woman's life.

At the Pink Lotus Breast Center, we regularly screen patients for mutations in the BRCA genes, in addition to other genes that predispose to breast cancer. Whether a diagnosis is present or not, we recommend the BRCA test, and possibly other genetic testing, to patients who meet the following criteria:



 

Women with a personal diagnosis of cancer:



- Breast cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger


- Ovarian cancer at any age


- Two primary breast cancers


- Both breast and ovarian cancer


- Male breast cancer at any age


- Women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with breast or ovarian cancer at any age
- "Triple Negative" breast cancer diagnosed at age 60 or younger
- A previously identified BRCA mutation, or other genetic mutation, in the family
- Diagnosed with breast cancer at any age with 2 or more breast cancers in the family
- Diagnosed with breast cancer at any age with 2 or more family members with any combination of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, or ovarian cancer


Women without a diagnosis of cancer:

- A close family member* diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger
- Two or more breast cancers in the family
- A male relative with breast cancer
- A close family member with ovarian cancer
- A previously identified BRCA mutation, or other genetic mutation, in the family


- Women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer at any age
*close family members include children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, grandchildren, great grandparents, great aunts/uncles, great grandchildren, and first cousins.


To find out if you may be at risk of carrying a genetic mutation, and whether you may be a candidate for BRCA testing, and possibly other genetic testing, please fill out our Genetics Quiz or contact us to meet with our Genetics Specialist.


 

BREAST CANCER 101

A WEALTH OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE PREVENTION,
SCREENING, DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF BREAST CANCER

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