Most people who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease. But if several members of your family have been diagnosed with breast and/or ovarian cancer, then you may be at risk also.
This could be because of an abnormal gene that is passed down to you from your mother or father. This gene contains a mutation that raises your risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer.
There are three well-known genes that can significantly increase your chances of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. They are called:
These genes are responsible for keeping breast cells growing normally and for preventing any cancer cell growth. When these genes contain a mutation, they don’t work the way they should. This increases your cancer risk. Abnormal BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2 account for about 1 out of every 10 breast-cancer cases.
You may want to speak with a genetic counselor about genetic testing if breast and/or ovarian cancer runs in your family. Genetic testing can tell you if you have one of these three genes.
People who have one of these genes are often followed more closely by their doctor. This ensures that cancer is caught early if it develops. Knowing about your risk will also allow you to decide if you want to have preventive treatment such as a mastectomy.
It’s important to note that these genes can also increase a man’s risk of developing breast or prostate cancer. Any man who has a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer in his family may also want to consider genetic testing.
Anyone who may be at risk of developing breast or another form of cancer due to family history is encouraged to speak with UPMC’s genetic counselor.
UPMC Breast Care Center
31 Sprint Drive
Carlisle, PA 17015
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
2025 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
UPMC Breast Care Center
Located at Medical Sciences Pavilion
4300 Londonderry Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
Breast Health Associates
Located at Breast Health Center
2170 Noll Drive
Lancaster, PA 17603
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