Breast Cancer: Why Your Family History Matters | One Healthy Boston

Cancer

Breast Cancer: Why Your Family History Matters

Routine screenings are an invaluable tool for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. But, it is equally important for women of all ages to understand their individual level of risk for breast cancer.

A women’s age, weight, and lifestyle are all factors that may affect her unique risks for breast cancer, but there is another factor that should never be overlooked: her family history.

How Family History Affects You

When women have immediate family members or other close relatives who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, they may be at higher risk for developing the disease themselves. Women who have first-degree relatives (sisters, mothers, or daughters) with a history of breast cancer are at a level of personal risk that may be as much as five times higher or more than women who do not.  In addition, family history of breast cancer on the father’s side of a family can be an important risk factor.

In some cases, women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have an abnormal gene that is associated with a very high risk for breast cancer. Some of those abnormal genes include BRCA1, BRCA2, and CHEK2 as well as others.

Each of these genes has the potential to dramatically increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer over the course of her life. Talking to your primary care provider about your family history is a crucial step in helping to determine the appropriate routine and supplemental screening options that are appropriate for you.    Your healthcare provider can also help you determine the best course of preventative care depending on your unique risk for breast cancer.

Breast Care at South Shore Health

In recent years, we’ve made significant strides in the early detection, diagnosis, and effective treatment of breast cancer. These advancements have led to innovations in cancer screening options as well as a growing community of survivors.

At South Shore Health, we offer patients the latest in cancer screening and diagnostic imaging technology. Our comprehensive approach to breast cancer care ensures that each patient receives personalized treatment plans that optimize their patient experience from diagnosis to recovery.

Visit the South Shore Health website to learn more about the screening, treatment, and recovery options available at our Breast Care Center.

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