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|Concerns about Breast Cancer Family History
Questions on genetics, family history & breast cancer.
|Asked||Publicly Submitted Question|
|11/15/2011||My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer (hormone-receptor negative, HER2-positive, also negative for the BRCA gene mutations) at age 42 and has since passed away from the disease. My cousin, her daughter, believes that because her mom had hormone-receptor negative breast cancer that she is herself is less likely to get breast cancer than if her mom had had hormone-receptor positive cancer. She's under the impression that hormone-receptor positive breast cancers increase genetic risk more than hormone-receptor negative breast cancers. Is there any truth to this? I'm not sure where she is getting her info.|
|Replied||JHU's Breast Center Reply|
|11/15/2011||Thank you for turning to the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. Sorry to hear of the loss of your Aunt. Your cousin is definitely incorrect. The ER (estrogen receptor) hormone receptor status, whether positive or negative, does not determine whether one carries the breast cancer gene. What raises a red flag for daughters, and other family members, is when a woman is young and pre-menopaosal, like your Aunt, when she got breast cancer, regardless if hormonal receptor positive or negative. Your cousin is now at a higher risk for developing breast cancer, as are you. Everyone has BRCA1 andBRCA2 genes, which we get from our mothers and our fathers. It is when these genes do not work properly, that we can identify a mutation or abnormality. Less then 10% of people with breast cancer are born with a mutation, or abnormality in BRCA1 or BRCA2. What we do find is that BRCA1 mutations can increase risk of developing triple negative breast cancer, and BRCA2 mutations are more likely to be found in estrogen recptor-positve breast cancer. Best recommendtion is for your cousin to consult with a genetic counselor for counseling and testing. Normally we would test the person with breast cancer, but as your Aunt has passed this is not possible. Hope this helps and best wishes!|
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