There are many factors that can contribute to a woman’s risk for breast cancer, and genetics is an important one to consider. There are genetic mutations of either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene that can be identified through a blood test. These genetic mutations only account for about 5-10% of all breast cancer cases, but individuals who have these abnormal genes are at a significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer. Getting tested for these genetic abnormalities is not necessary for everyone, but it will help create a beneficial screening schedule for higher-risk patients. Here are some signs that indicate you could fall into this category of individuals:
- You have a male relative who has had breast cancer: Breast cancer in men is rare and is often linked to genetic inheritance. If any of your immediate male family members have had breast cancer, you should have a genetic test.
- You have a family or personal history of ovarian cancer: The gene abnormalities that indicate a high risk for breast cancer are also linked to ovarian cancer, so it is an important factor in determining your risk.
- You have a family history of breast cancer in younger individuals: Typically, breast cancer is diagnosed in individuals who are over the age of 40. If you or a family member has a history of breast cancer earlier in life, genetic testing is warranted.
- You are of Ashkenazi Jewish decent: Your heritage can also affect your genetic makeup, and an Ashkenazi Jewish background may indicate that genetic testing would be beneficial. This is especially true for individuals of this background with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
To find out more about the benefits of genetic testing and who should consider this procedure, schedule an appointment with Marla W. Dudak, M.D. Contact us by visiting our website or calling us at (888) 418-6759.