“What Every Young Woman Needs to Know About Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer”
Breast Cancer in Young Women Can Be Hereditary
In a room of 80 women, 10 will have a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. It is less common in young ladies than in older women, but younger women are more likely to have hereditary breast cancer. These cancers that run in families are caused by an inherited change in genes.
Everyone Has BRCA Genes
“BRCA” stands for the breast cancer gene. You have two BRCA genes—one from your mother and one from your father—which help your body prevent breast cancer.
Some people have mutations—or changes in their BRCA genes—which increase their risk for breast, ovarian, and other cancers. One in every 500 women in the U.S. has either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. If one of your parents carries a BRCA gene mutation, you have a 50% chance of also having the mutation.
Cassie, 42, has three aunts on her mother’s side of the family who were diagnosed with breast cancer. At 32, Cassie learned she has a BRCA1 gene mutation. To address her increased risk, Cassie opted to have preventive surgeries.
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