Somewhere along the line I learned to encourage women with a family history of breast cancer to begin getting mammograms at an age 10 years prior to when their mother was diagnosed and to encourage their daughters to begin getting mammograms at an age 10 years prior to when they themselves were ever diagnosed.
I learned this prior to the discovery of BRCA genes. It was a trend that had been noted among women with strong family histories. The new study (see full reference below) in the journal Cancer verifies that genetic breast cancers show up earlier in the next generation – on average by 8 years.
The study from MD Anderson looked at 2 generations of families with the BRCA gene to assess the age at diagnosis. Using the pool of 132 BRCA-positive women with breast cancer who participated in the high-risk protocol at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Gen 2), 106 women could be paired with a family member in the previous generation (Gen 1) who was diagnosed with a BRCA-related cancer (either breast cancer or ovarian cancer).
The median age of cancer diagnosis was (more…)
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*