The Link Between Hereditary Breast Cancer and Family History
Breast cancer is a deadly disease that has affected millions of women around the globe. While a number of factors contribute to the development of breast cancer, recent research has found a significant connection between hereditary breast cancer and family history.
Cancer is caused by mutated cells in the body that grow uncontrollably, damaging nearby tissues and spreading to other parts of the body. Hereditary breast cancer means that the mutated genes that cause the disease are passed down from one generation to another. Such genes are present in every cell of the body and are known as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.
Studies have shown that people with a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk of developing the disease compared to those with no such history. If a woman’s mother or sister has had breast cancer, her risk of developing the condition is two to three times higher than that of a woman with no family history.
Moreover, if a family member has had hereditary breast cancer, the risk of other members of the family developing the disease is also higher. This explains why some families have a history of breast cancer that spans across multiple generations.
The link between family history and hereditary breast cancer is brought about by mutations in the BRCA genes. Persons with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to people who do not have these mutations. BRCA mutations increase the risk of breast cancer to about 55 percent to 87 percent.
Having said that, it is important to note that most breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of the disease. In such cases, the cause of breast cancer is not related to heredity.
Breast cancer screening is essential for women with a history of breast cancer in their family. It is recommended that such women start getting mammograms at an earlier age and at more frequent intervals than women without a family history of breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer may undergo genetic testing to determine if they carry the BRCA mutations. If positive, they may consider preventive measures, such as surgery, to reduce their risk of developing the disease.
In summary, the link between hereditary breast cancer and family history is significant. Women with a family history of breast cancer need to be vigilant and take preventive measures to reduce their risk of developing the disease. This includes regular screening, genetic testing, and making healthy lifestyle choices that will keep the body in optimal condition and prevent the development of cancer cells.