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|Concerns about Breast Cancer Family History
Questions on genetics, family history & breast cancer.
|Asked||Publicly Submitted Question|
|10/28/2011||Within 1 1/2 years, my first cousin,45yrs,was diagnosed with breast ca, Triple neg, BRCA neg. no node involvement, had lumpectomy,chemo and radiation. Then her mother, 68yrs, was diagnosed with breast ca, l node positive, had mastectomy, chemo and radiation. Then,last March, I was diagnosed with breast ca, estrogen +, progesterone + and Her-, no node involvement BRCA -. Opted for bilateral mastectomy, had chemo as per oncotype results, and am now on Tamoxifen. Last week, my other first cousin(both on Dad's side of family) was diagnosed with breast ca, Estrogen +, BRCA neg and is having bilateral mastectomy next week. Is there some connection or just coincidence. Should other female members of family be more vigilant?|
|Replied||JHU's Breast Center Reply|
|10/28/2011||Thank you for turning to the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. Quite a lot of breast cancer in a short amount of time! I hope you all are doing well now. So I see where the BrCa test was negative for you and your cousins. You ask a very good question "Is there some connection or coincidence, and the answer is probably a bit of both. We know that there is a genetic/hereditary component to breast cancer; hereditary cancer means that an alteration in a single major gene strongly contributes to the development of cancer or cancer-related conditions within the family. |
But in addition, there can be what we call a familial component, suggesting a clustering of cancers that probably occurred by chance. In other words, there may be a combination of genetic and non-genetic (i.e., environmental) factors that contributed to the development of cancers within a family. In such instances, where there is no identified BrCa gene alteration, family members may still face elevated risks of cancer, and so yes, should be more vigilant. Hope this helps and best wishes.
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