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          One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  Only about 25% of those will have a family history of breast cancer.  Of those, only 6% are related to the BRCA I and BRCA II gene.  It is important to remember that men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer and should not ignore a new breast mass.  We can predict increased risk using Risk Assessment Tools and in some cases gene testing.

  • Cancer Risk:  You surgeon may use a risk model called the Gail risk model which takes into consideration many factors including previous breast biopsy results and family history.  For a comprehensive risk assessment theNational Cancer Institute has put together a web link titled Understanding the Puzzle.  Please visit  http://understandingrisk.cancer.gov/* for more information.

  • BRCA testing:  BRCA I and BRCA II are genes which are known to infer a higher than normal risk of many cancers to include breast cancer in carriers of this gene.  Here a Womack, we offer genetic counseling and genetic testing by way of a buccal (cheek) swab.  We know only certain people should be tested for the gene.  Patients should also have a clear understanding of the implications of gene testing.  You may consider talking to your doctor if you have any of the following:

    • Personal History of breast cancer diagnosed before 50
    • Ovarian cancer at any age
    • Male breast cancer at any age
    • Multiple primary cancers
    • Bilateral breast cancers
    • Ashkenzai Jewish ancestry
    • Relative of a BRCA mutation carrier
    • Family history of breast cancer before 50 and/or multiple relatives on either your father or mothers side of the family