Cancer Awareness

Cancer has many possible causes. Sometimes it is linked to changes (mutations) in your genes. If you have relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, a BRCA gene mutation could run in your family. The normal BRCA genes prevent cancer by keeping breast and ovarian cells from growing out of control. Changes in these genes can increase your cancer risk
(ie BRCA1 mutation carrier has 55-85% lifetime risk of breast cancer and 40% risk of ovarian cancer).

Your healthcare provider may recommend genetic testing if you have a personal history of cancer in both breasts or both breasts and ovarian cancer. Family history that may warrant testing is two or more close relatives with breast or ovarian cancer or a relative with breast or ovarian cancer before age 45. All women of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are at increased risk for the mutations.

Those with BRCA mutations can consider increased surveillance for both breasts and ovarian cancer as well as other measures (such as removal of breasts and / or ovaries) to increase early detection and decrease overall risk. While only 5-10% of women with breast cancer have the genetic-linked causation, knowing whether you are at increased risk is key.

If you have concerns or would like to be evaluated for risk, please contact our office at 503-435-2020 to schedule an appointment.

Paid Advertising Column By Kay E. Case, M.D.
Physician and Surgeon, Women's Health Care

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