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Should family test if no other history?

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Question from JennieD: I have an 82-year-old mother and sisters who are 56, 54, and 48. I was diagnosed at age 49 with IDC. I was very healthy with no risk factors and no family history of breast cancer. Now that I've had breast cancer, is it possible that I have the BRCA gene and that my sisters and mother might also? Should we have genetic testing or just continue to be diligent with our mammograms and breast self-exams?
Answers - Terri McHugh Formal risk assessment with a certified counselor would help determine if genetic testing would be appropriate for you. Your paternal family history is important in addition to the information you have offered in making this assessment.

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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