Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. In nearly 30% of all cases, a member of the breast cancer patient’s extended family also has breast cancer. This may be coincidental or due to hereditary susceptibility. According to estimates, a single gene mutation that runs in the family underlies approximately 5–10% of all breast cancer cases. The most common form of such mutations are BRCA gene defects.
Indications of hereditary breast cancer include:
- Breast cancer in a very young person
- Multiple cancers in one person
- Breast cancer in both breasts
- Incidences of breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer in close kin
How can breast cancer heredity be examined?
How can the heredity of cancer be examined if you have a nagging doubt and have observed some of the indications mentioned above? At Docrates Cancer Center, we provide two alternative paths. A sensible approach is to discuss the cancer cases in your family with a specialist in medical genetics. If the situation seems to indicate the chance of hereditary breast cancer, a genetic test to investigate heredity will be recommended. The test is best suited for people who have actually already suffered from cancer. If a genetic defect is discovered, efforts will be made to identify all the carriers of the defective gene in the family. Even if a family shows hereditary susceptibility to cancer, it does not mean that all family members have inherited it.
Docrates Cancer Center can conduct an investigation of the heredity of breast cancer. People who are worried about their potential hereditary risk of contracting cancer can consult Docrates Specialist in Clinical Genetics Helena Kääriäinen.
If you wish, you may also take an alternative path. Color’s genetic risk test may be carried out on the basis of the customer’s worry and his or her own assessment. Once the results are available, the customer can discuss the situation and the test results with a specialist in medical genetics. The interpretation of the results always depends on the patient’s and his or her family’s medical history. Even if no mutation associated with an increased risk for developing cancer is found in the test, the patient may still have hereditary susceptibility to cancer, in which case his or her health needs to be monitored more closely than usual.