Medical Services Genetics Breast Cancer and Genetics Find a Location Find a Doctor Genetics Menu Genetics Center for Precision Medicine and Genomic Health Hereditary Cancer Program BRCA Testing Preconception and Perinatal Genetic Services Carrier Status Screening Proactive Genetic Screening Breast Cancer and Genetics Are you high risk for breast cancer? The genetic specialists at St. Elizabeth Healthcare are here to help you determine your risk factors and what can be done to help you stay in control of your health. Our experts recommend that women screen for breast cancer ten years prior to the youngest diagnosis in her family. For example, if your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 42, you should begin screening mammograms at age 32. If a genetic cancer risk has been identified in your family, it’s important to meet with a genetic counselor, as the standard recommendations for cancer screenings may be modified. In some cases, the risk of developing breast cancer can be as high as 85%. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were the first to be discovered with a link to developing breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers. While BRCA1 and BRCA2 account for 30-40% of hereditary breast cancer, most hereditary breast cancer is due to errors in other genes. Knowledge is Power Hereditary cancer panel testing – also known as Next Generation Sequencing – allows labs to study dozens of genes at one time. A majority of these genes are associated with breast (both female and male), ovarian, uterine, gastrointestinal, prostate and pancreatic cancers. There are certain “red flags” in an individual and/or family history that suggest hereditary cancer syndrome, including: Breast, prostate, uterine or gastrointestinal cancer before the age of 50 Triple negative breast cancer Individuals with more than one primary breast cancer and/or contralateral (opposite) breast cancer Male breast cancer More than one individual with the same type of cancer on the same side of the family Ovarian, primary peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer at any age Pancreatic cancer at any age Metastatic prostate cancer at any age Ten or more colon polyps and/or specific types of polyps An individual at any age with a family history of a known pathogenic hereditary cancer gene change Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry If you are identified as having hereditary cancer syndrome, it’s important to remember that knowledge is power. Having this information could help you to: Have additional cancer treatment options. Be more responsive to certain types of chemotherapy agents. Opt to make different surgical decisions. Be at an increased risk for cancer above the general population and therefore take appropriate steps to lower those cancer risks (medication, surgery, etc.). Be able to detect cancer earlier at a more treatable stage with a more favorable prognosis. Have the knowledge to encourage children, siblings and parents to have genetic testing and routine cancer screenings performed. Direct relatives have a 50% chance of also having hereditary cancer syndrome. St. Elizabeth Healthcare: Genetic counseling you can count on The genetic counselors at St. Elizabeth Healthcare offer pre-test genetic counseling for all breast cancer patients and their families. At your genetic counseling appointment, you and your genetic counselor will discuss: Your medical history Family history Risk assessment Testing options Results/implications Insurance coverage Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Testing of family members If you decide to proceed with genetic testing, a blood and/or saliva sample will be collected at the time of your appointment and your insurance will be billed. Results typically take between two and four weeks. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a certified Genetic Counselor at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, please call (859) 301-5396.