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Cancer Risk Assessment for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the cancer that starts in your breast cells. This occurs when the breast cells go out of control. The tumours of the breast can be noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant).

There are different types of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on the which cells in the breast turn into cancer.

Different types of breast cancer include:

  • Angiosarcoma
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma
  • Male breast cancer

In India, breast cancer has the highest incidence rate among women.

Recent genome advancements have made it possible for prediction of breast cancers and understanding the risk percentage of breast cancer by analyzing individual’s gene make up and family history.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors are as follows:
  • Age: Increase for breast cancer increases with age (mostly over the age 50)
  • Genetic alterations
  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancers
  • Personal history of breast cancer or non-cancerous breast diseases
  • Previous treatment using radiation therapy
  • Exposure to drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)
  • Reproductive history: Starting menstrual periods before age 12 or starting menopause after age 55 – expose women to hormones longer than they should
  • Having dense breasts
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption

Common genes responsible for Breast Cancer

Some of the tumour associated genes are:
  • BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common cause of hereditary breast cancers.

Assessment of Breast Cancer Risk

Assessment of cancer risk for breast cancers for those with high risk factors as mentioned above. Some of the tests an individual can take to know the possibility of cancer are:
  1. Personal history of cancer
  2. Detailed family history to detect the following situations:
    • If you have a close relative (grandmothers, mother, sister, aunts) on either parent’s side of the family
    • A history of both breast and ovarian cancer on the same side of the family
    • Women with a history of breast cancer accompanied by other cancers
    • If there is a man with breast cancer in your family
  3. Possible screening tests include:
    • Mammography (most common screening test): Recommended for every woman between 50 to 74 years old
    • Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  4. Other exams include: Clinical Breast Exam and Breast self-exam

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FAQ's :

Genetic testing can help you understand your chances of getting breast cancer and take the early prevention measures or explore treatment options.

Up to 10% of breast cancers may be hereditary. This means they are caused by a genetic alteration which is inherited from a parent.

A woman with a strong history of breast cancer on her father’s side can inherit it and has the same risk of having abnormal breast cancer gene as the woman with a strong family history on her mother’s side.

References:

  1. What Is Breast Cancer? American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/what-is-breast-cancer.html Accessed on 04-06-2022
  1. Breast Cancer. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470 Accessed on 04-06-2022
  1. What is Breast Cancer? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/what-is-breast-cancer.htm Accessed on 04-06-2022
  1. Breast Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention. Cancer. Net. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/breast-cancer/risk-factors-and-prevention Accessed on 04-06-2022
  1. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations. Breastcancer.org. https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/risk-factors/genetics Accessed on 04-06-2022
  1. What is breast cancer screening? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/screening.htm Accessed on 04-06-2022

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