What Is the Role of Genetics in Breast Cancer?

Share
Copy

Question: What is the role of genetics in breast cancer?

Answer: It's been known for centuries that there is a hereditary process underlying some breast cancers. It was described back in Roman times. Right now we know that about 15-20 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have some family history of breast cancer. Now, that can be a very dramatic family history where multiple relatives have breast cancer at an early age. That we call "hereditary" -- meaning there's a gene traveling through the generations in this family that is causing this unique susceptibility. That probably is present in about 5 percent of breast cancers. The more common family history is: my aunt had breast cancer when she was 70, because it is a common disease. So there's two levels of involvement of genetics here -- the true hereditary process, not very common but certainly very striking when it's present; the more common, but less dramatic, slight family history, and both of those are included when we say, the role of genetics in breast cancer.

Next: What Is Involved in Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer and What Do the Results Mean?

Previous: What Are the Roles for Physical Exam, Mammography, MRI and Breast Self-Exam in the Screening Process for Breast Cancer?

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3659556. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3659556. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3659556. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3659556. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3659556. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3659556.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The scene near the finish line of the Boston Marathon is seen in this April 16, 2013 file photo. Inset, suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are seen. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo; Inset: Lowell Sun, FBI/AP Photo
PHOTO: The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
PHOTO: Pulaski Township Police Sgt. Chad Adam seen here in this undated Facebook photo, went undercover as an Amish woman.
Pulaski Township Police Department/Facebook
PHOTO: The Earths shadow is cast over the surface of the moon as a total lunar eclipse is seen though a Magnolia tree top in the sky over Tyler, Texas, April 15, 2014.
Dr. Scott M. Lieberman/AP Photo