Genetic Testing

Approximately 5 to 10 percent of women with breast cancer have a hereditary form of the disease.

Some women have an increased risk for breast cancer because of family and personal factors that are not related to known genetic mutations. A Risk Assessment appointment at The Breast Center will help you understand your risk and if you are a candidate for genetic testing. 

What is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing is a highly sophisticated laboratory test that analyzes DNA from a patient’s cells and identifies the presence of chromosomal abnormalities. Many people have heard of BRCA mutations; however, there are several gene mutations that can increase risk for breast and other cancers. Patients who have these mutations have a very high risk of developing cancer during their lifetime.

Who should consider Genetic Testing?

If family history is suggestive of hereditary breast cancer syndrome, patients may want to consider genetic testing.

  • A clue that a mutation may exist in a family would be the presence of multiple relatives in a family with breast, ovarian, pancreatic or metastatic prostate cancer, particularly if diagnosed at a young age.  
  • Patients with two first-degree relatives who have had breast cancer, such as a mother and sister or two sisters, are particularly at risk for having a mutation.  
  • A male in the family with breast cancer or Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry also increases the likelihood of a BRCA mutation.

At the Breast Center, we are now taking the recommendation of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and testing ALL newly diagnosed breast cancer patients for mutations. We have expanded the guidelines for other patients and found mutations in individuals we might not have tested before.

Take our Genetics Hereditary Cancer Quiz to learn more about your risk of breast cancer.