Friday, October 2nd at 10 a.m.
Most cancers develop as a result of genetic damage or a mutation that happens sometime during a person's lifetime. These are called sporadic cancers. These types of mutations only affect the cells that grow from the original mutated cell.
Cancers that result from DNA damage that is passed on are called hereditary cancers. They account for about 5 percent to 10 percent of all breast cancer cases. The likelihood of breast cancer being hereditary is linked to your age at the time of diagnosis. The younger you are, the more likely the cancer is hereditary.
A number of genetic defects can result in an increased risk for breast cancer. All these defects occur in areas of the genes that influence cancer progression. The most common defects are found on genes named BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2). A woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is at higher risk of developing breast cancer and some other types of cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.
The discoveries of these breast cancer genes in the early 1990s greatly helped our understanding of the genetic basis of inherited breast cancer and ovarian cancer. However, these are large and complex genes. Scientists continue to work to understand the significance of different alterations in these genes.
To learn more about the role of genetics in cancer, join us for an OU Medicine Live Chat this Friday, Oct.2 at 10 a.m. with Erin Youngs of the Cancer Genetics Clinic at the Stephenson Cancer Center and visit the helpful links on this page.
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