If cancer happens frequently in your family, or you have a personal history of cancer, you may at risk for an "inherited" form of cancer.
I recommend that women who are at high risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer (Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome) have genetic testing to help determine prevention and treatment. Women with the following features should be offered genetic testing (or a blood test to looks for genes related to breast and ovarian cancer risk):
- breast cancer before age 50
- breast cancer in 2 or more relatives
- breast cancer in a male relative
- breast cancer in both breasts or twice in the same breast,
- women of Ashkenazi, or Eastern European Jewish ancestry with breast or ovarian cancer at any age
- Ovarian cancer at any age
Another genetic syndrome called HNPCC (Hereditary Non Polyposis Colorectal Cancer Syndrome) or Lynch syndrome is a red flag for these:
- Colorectal cancer
- Endometrial (uterine) cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Stomach cancer
- And, rarely, urinary/renal, pelvis, biliary tract, small bowel, pancreas, and brain cancers
- Some patients may also develop sebaceous adenomas, a non-cancerous tumor of an oil-producing gland
Please ask your doctor if you should be tested for either of these syndromes which may place you at higher risk for cancer and be sure to inform your doctor of your personal and family history of cancer.