Ask-the-Expert Online Conference
- Question from Sandy Brass: I am almost 18 years out from a single mastectomy of pretty well-established inherited breast cancer. I have three daughters, the oldest now coming into the "subtract 10 years from initial diagnosis" range. Is there anything else that I can do for my girls besides self-breast exams and digital mammograms or ultrasounds?
As a woman who has had breast cancer 18 years go and now has children, looking at your family history you are assuming this is hereditary. If it hasn't been done, you should undergo formal genetic testing to undercover a mutation, either BRCA1 or BRCA2. If that has been done and if you test positive for the gene, then you will want to follow high risk screening guidelines which will be outlined shortly. If you were found to have the mutation, and your daughter doesn't, then your daughter's risk is average or based on the risk of the other side of the family.
The high risk screening guidelines for a woman who has a mutation or has a hereditary predisposition would be starting with monthly breast self-exams starting at 18, annual mammograms and annual breast MRI (ideally alternating every 6 months) from age 25, or 10 years younger than the youngest family member diagnosed, whichever is less. And clinical breast exams twice a year by a physician or nurse practitioner.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference Breast Cancer Risk and Your Family featured Terri McHugh, D.O., and Carol Cherry, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.R.N., B.C. answering your questions about genetics and breast cancer, and how your family could be affected.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2008.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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