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Cancer Genetics

Sons and Their Mom`s Breast Cancer

07/08/2009

Question:

I have a male cousin whose mom, my aunt, died from breast cancer (age 72). My male cousin has two daughters. Are his daughters at an increased risk for breast cancer? If so, should they begin screening earlier? Thanks

Answer:

The age of diagnosis of your aunt's breast cancer and the fact that she is a step removed means that their breast cancer risk is not very different from the average woman's risk.  1 in 8 women will get breast cancer over their lifetime.  They should do the general population screening, which consists of annual mammograms and clinical exams beginning at age 40.  There is no data that self breast exam improves outcomes from breast cancer, but as long as it doesn't cause excessive anxiety, I recommend that be performed monthly beginning at age 25.

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Response by:

Doreen M Agnese, MD Doreen M Agnese, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University