Genetics and Breast Cancer: By guest blogger Meagan Farmer, MS, CGC

Genetics and Breast Cancer: By guest blogger Meagan Farmer, MS, CGC

230,000 women develop breast cancer each year, and 5-10% of these cases are hereditary in nature. Hereditary breast cancer occurs when there is a single hereditary cause for breast cancer in an individual or family.  In this case, individuals are born with a hereditary condition that predisposes them to breast cancer and potentially other cancers.  In families with hereditary breast cancer, the following may be seen:

·         premenopausal breast cancer

·         multiple members with breast or related cancers

·         cancer in multiple generations

·         more than one primary cancer in the same person

·         rare presentations of cancer (e.g. male breast cancer)

·         Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry

However, not every family is a textbook case and will include every sign.  If you have a personal or family history of breast cancer, it may be helpful to see a genetic counselor. He/she can analyze your medical and family history and determine how likely it is that you and/or family members have a hereditary condition that predisposes to breast cancer.  If such a condition is suspected, genetic testing may be helpful.  Genetic testing technology has evolved rapidly, and your genetic counselor can determine whether genetic testing is appropriate, identify the best person in the family to test, and discuss the pros and cons of multiple genetic testing options.  Your genetic counselor will inform you if increased cancer screening or cancer risk-reducing options would be appropriate for you and your family based on genetic test results and/or family history. To locate a genetic counselor in your area, visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors website at www.nsgc.org.

(Meagan Farmer, MS, CGC, Director of Cancer Genetic Counseling- University of Alabama at Birmingham) 

Genetics and Breast Cancer: By guest blogger Meagan Farmer, MS, CGC

Meagan Farmer

MS, CGC, Director of Cancer Genetic Counseling- University of Alabama at Birmingham

Alabama's Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network

Young women with breast cancer face unique issues. And in the South, there are more young women overall facing breast cancer. In Alabama, young African-American women are significantly more likely to suffer from breast cancer.

That is why SurviveAL is here. Part of the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, SurviveAL's mission is to help improve the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors, as well as their family and friends, by providing continuing resources and support.

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