Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
One in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Of those, 5 to 10 percent will inherit the disease from a parent. Genetic counseling can help identify those at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, enabling women to make proactive decisions about their health care today – before the cancer strikes.
For some women, changes in the genes BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 can increase their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Women may be more likely to carry the changed gene if their family history includes:
- three or more close blood relatives (mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin) with breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer
- one or more close blood relatives with early onset (before age 50 or before menopause) breast or ovarian cancer
- one or more close blood relatives with two or more primary breast tumors or bilateral breast cancer
- one or more close male blood relatives (father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle) with breast cancer
- Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry and a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Genetic testing can detect the changed BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene. If you meet one or more of the criteria, talk with your primary care doctor about a referral to the Affinity Health System genetic counseling program.