What do breast cancer patients need to know about hereditary breast cancer? Expert Dr. Demetria Smith-Graziani explains hereditary breast cancer and genetic testing and shares questions for patients to ask their doctor and family members.
Demetria Smith-Graziani, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Smith-Graziani.
“…ask your family members about their cancer history so that you’re aware of it, and then ask your oncologist if they recommend genetic counseling or testing.”
Dr. Smith, can breast cancer be hereditary? And should patients suggest that their family members undergo genetic testing?
Dr. Demetria Smith-Graziani:
So breast cancer definitely can be hereditary, we are aware of some forms of inherited breast cancers, and we have identified certain mutations in genes that are passed down along family lines, that increase the risk of getting breast cancer, people who have a significant family history of breast cancer or certain other cancers such as prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma or ovarian cancer. They may have a higher risk of getting breast cancer in the future.
And so, my activation tip for patients is to ask your family members about their cancer history so that you’re aware of it, and then ask your oncologist if they recommend genetic counseling or testing.
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