Pass breast cancer on to daughter?


Question from Tess: I am worried my daughter will end up getting cancer, too, and it will be entirely my fault.
Answers - Patricia A. Ganz, M.D. While there is a risk to your daughter because you have had breast cancer, the cause of breast cancer, in most women, is not hereditary, but more what you are exposed to over your lifetime. In particular, your hormones in your own body, and how your body and, particularly, the breast responds to those hormones. Things to think about are to make sure she eats a healthy diet, and that she remains physically active. Young girls will usually exercise throughout their life and have a reduced risk due to the exercise. In addition, preventing obesity can be helped by exercise. The other thing to tell your daughter is that breast cancer, when detected early, is highly curable, and many women can have a normal life span from early detection and treatment. In her lifetime, there may be many more treatments available to prevent breast cancer.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Dr. Ganz is so right to express this optimism about the future. Know that your daughter will take her cues from you. If you keep looking at her with worried and guilty looks, you may make her more anxious than she needs to be. Helping her find the right information, and giving her the necessary guidance to learn how to lead a healthy life will be the most constructive way to help her if she is or if she is not at increased risk for developing breast cancer.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2001, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Quality of LifePatricia A. Ganz, M.D.,Marisa Weiss, M.D., answered your questions about how breast cancer can affect physical, emotional, social, and sexual aspects of your life.

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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