GENETICS AND BREAST CANCER RISK
Genetic predisposition is the most significant risk factor for the development of breast cancer. Having a family history on either your maternal or paternal side may put you at a higher risk for developing the disease.
One of the most common gene mutations associated with breast cancer is the Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Syndrome. This includes the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. With this syndrome, there is a 0.1% risk of developing breast cancer in the average population, but a 203% of risk in those of Ashkenazi Jewish decent.
However, we now know of many other genes that can increase the risk of breast cancer including ATM, CDH1, CHEK2, PALB2, PTEN, STK11, TP53. BRCA1 has the greatest association with breast and ovarian cancer and usually occurs with younger age onset. BRCA2 carriers are typically at a later age onset and most common with postmenopausal women. BRCA2 also has a strong association with male breast cancer. In addition, both men and women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a higher risk for pancreatic cancer. Consider testing if you have personal or family history of the following:
- Diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
- Ovarian cancer at any age
- Breast cancer with both breasts or ipsilateral (same side recurrence)
- Both breast and ovarian cancer
- Male breast cancer at any age
- Women of Ashkenazi Jewish decent with breast or ovarian cancer at any age
- A previously identified BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation in the family
HOW THE TEST IS DONE AT OUR CENTER
At the Breast Center of Irvine, we use a very simple collection method called Buccal BRAC Sample Collection. It is an oral rinse procedure, rather than a blood sample, in which cells are released from the lining of the mouth. The cells sample is then sent to a laboratory to obtain DNA for testing. We can also take a blood sample.
For the buccal test, it is imperative that you do not eat, drink, or chew gum for one hour prior to the sample collection. During the procedure, you will rinse your mouth two times with a mouthwash. After each rinse, you discharge all of the mouthwash into a collection tube. The collection tube is then sent to a lab for analysis. Your results are usually received within 2 weeks and will be sent to you and your primary healthcare physician.