Just because you have a family history of breast cancer, doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop the disease.
Do you have a family history of breast cancer that has you concerned about the likelihood that you too will develop the disease? Here are some things to know:
- According to the American Cancer Society, more than eighty-five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
- It's estimated that between five and ten percent of breast cancer cases are believed to be hereditary in nature, meaning that they're caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child.
- The majority of genetically linked cases of breast cancer are associated with abnormalities of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These genes are responsible for repairing cell damage, and ensuring the normal growth of breast cells. Abnormalities greatly increase the odds of developing breast cancer. Genetic testing can determine if you have an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
- Whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer or have an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. They include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, choosing not to smoke and getting mammograms as advised by your doctor.
Be sure to perform self breast exams in between screenings; prevention is the best way to stay healthy. To estimate your level of risk and determine if genetic testing is recommended for you, talk with your doctor. If you need to find someone to speak with, use our online Find a Physician service or call 1-855-665-8627 for a physician referral.