In Western societies, a woman has an approximately 10% risk of developing breast cancer. However, breast cancer may also be hereditary. If more than two close relatives have ever had breast or ovarian cancer, especially at a young age, then there is a substantial chance that a genetic predisposition is the cause. This is described as a hereditary genetic mutation in the family. Female carriers of this mutation have an increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer, and male carriers have an increased risk of prostate or colorectal cancer.
Based on a medical family history and blood tests, we can determine if breast cancer is hereditary in a patient’s family. We can also check if a specific mutation, that was shown to have caused breast cancer in the family, has been inherited.