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Breast Evaluation and Treatment

Genetic Risk Assessment for Breast Cancer

family enjoyment

Many women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer are concerned about whether they or their daughters may also be at risk for these diseases. It is now possible to test for genetic abnormalities that contribute to inherited breast and ovarian cancer.

There are many issues to consider before deciding if genetic counseling and testing is right for you. We provide consultations to discuss your concerns, and help determine your personal genetic risk for cancer. Certified genetic counselor Jessica Rispoli Joines will provide in-depth counseling.

Genes & Cancer

Cancer results from mutations, or changes, in a person's genes that usually occur over many years. Lifestyle factors, such as a high-fat/low-fiber diet, tobacco, alcohol use and exposure to chemicals may contribute to some of these changes. Researchers have identified specific gene mutations that may increase the risk of developing a particular type of cancer.

These abnormal genes are passed from generation to generation, and a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer (two or more relatives) may mean that it's the result of an inherited cancer susceptibility gene. It's important to remember that only 5 percent to 10 percent of all cancers are caused by inherited genetic mutations, and not everyone who carries them will develop cancer.

This page was last updated on: September 10, 2009.