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Is Breast Cancer Hereditary?

Breast cancer is not necessarily caused by hereditary factors. The majority of breast cancer cases are associated with mutations in cells that were developed during a person's lifetime.

However, there is a small percentage of breast cancer patients who do acquire the disease because of genetic predispositions. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can be inherited, which will increase a person's chances of developing breast cancer. But not everybody who inherits these mutations will develop the disease.

Breast cancer is more common in women than in men, but men can also inherit BRCA mutations. This means men can also be at risk of developing breast cancer and also for passing on the mutated genes to their children.

If you have these genetic mutations or a strong family history of breast cancer, it is sometimes recommended to receive a breast MRI and a mammogram every year at a younger age.

Screening for breast cancer early and often can help catch the disease at an early stage. And catching the disease at an early stage will increase your chances of survival.

Inherited breast cancer is caused by two abnormal genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, or breast cancer gene one and breast cancer gene two. Everyone has these genes, but when there are abnormalities present in these genes that is when there is a risk for breast cancer. 

Everyone has these two genes but when there are any kind of abnormalities which tend to present in the genes then that is when the risk of breast cancer arises for the individual. There have been around five to ten percent of the breast cancers are said to be inherited or caused due to the abnormalities in the genes which has been passed from the parent to the child. An individual is more likely to have an abnormal breast cancer gene if:

  • You have any of your relative suffering from triple-negative breast cancer condition.
  • Those women in the family who have or had cancer in both their breasts.
  • For those who have blood relatives such as mothers, aunts, grandmothers or sisters on either of the mother or the father’s side relative being suffering from breast cancer and were diagnosed with this condition before the age of 50 years.
  • If there is a known abnormal kind of breast cancer gene present in the family.
  • When there are both the breast cancer as well as the ovarian cancer on the same side of the family or in a single person.
  • Those individuals who belong to the heritage of Ashkenazi Jewish or the Eastern European line.
  • If there is a man in the family suffering from  breast cancer.