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A 34-year-old member asked:

Is breast cancer inherited?

9 doctor answers24 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 35 years experience
Sometimes.: It is estimated that approximately 10-15% of all breast cancers in the US are of the hereditary type. These genes can be inherited from either your father or your mother. If a woman inherits this gene, they have a 50-75% chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. These cancers tend to occur at any earlier age and may occur in both breasts.
Dr. Deanna Attai
A Verified Doctoranswered
32 years experience
It can be: Even with a family history of breast cancer, the majority of breast cancers are known as "sporadic"; approximately 5-10% of inherited breast cancers are related to a mutation in the brca 1 or brca 2 genes.
Dr. Travis Kidner
Surgical Oncology 18 years experience
Can be: It can be, although the vast majority of women with breast cancer do not have a family history.
Dr. Mark Pack
General Surgery 32 years experience
Genetics: There is a genetic compnent of risk for breast cancer. It is possible that if particular family members ( Mother, Sister, Grandmother...) have had breast cancer that you are at higher risk for breast cancer. If you have a concern about this, please discuss your risk and what you can do about it with your family doctor or surgeon.
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 35 years experience
Yes: As many as 10-15% of all breast cancers in the US are of the hereditary type. This has been studied quite extensively and mutations to a specific gene, called the BRCA gene, is linked to this risk. These mutations may be found with the use of a simple blood test.
Dr. Matt Malkin
Anesthesiology 17 years experience
Absolutely: The major genes that are talked about are brca1 and 2. The risk of cancer is high enough that carriers of the gene will elect for bilateral mastectomy before even finding cancer. If one family member is a carrier, others should be tested. It is also associated with higher rates of male cancer.
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 23 years experience
The risk can: Breast cancer itself is not passed down, but the risk for developing breast cancer can be inherited. Mutations in genes called brca1 and brca2 can be passed from a parent to a child. These inherited mutations increase the risk of developing breast cancer dramatically. A person with a brca mutation may have a 50% or higher chance of developing breast cancer, but it's not 100%.
Dr. Carlos Encarnacion
Medical Oncology 36 years experience
Yes/no: Cancer is not inherited but you can inherit certain genetic changes that make it more likely to get breast cancer (and others as well). About 1 in 10 breast cancers have an inherited component, most due to brca 1 or 2. Other genes can also be at play, like p53, pten, stk11, atm and others. Discuss this with your doc and see if you would benefit of a visit with a cancer geneticist.
Dr. Mark Dickson
General Surgery 24 years experience
Sort of: There are certain genes that tend to run in families that can significantly increase your risk of breast cancer. That's why your hear about some families with several women having breast cancer and others with just one.

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A 29-year-old member asked:

How is breast cancer inherited between family members?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 35 years experience
BRCA Mutations: The genetic mutations responsible for the hereditary type of breast cancer are called BRCA mutations. If either parent has this mutation, there's a 50:50 chance that any of their children will inherit this mutation. Even with this mutation, the chance of breast cancer is not 100%; it's closer to 60%(in women). Keep in mind that only 10-15% of all breast cancers in the US are the hereditary type.

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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