Hereditary breast cancer


Breast cancer is a malignant formation that can develop both in one and in both mammary glands. For today it is considered thathereditary breast canceris associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Often the pathologies of genes that are responsible for this cancer are diagnosed in young women under the age of 40. These genes regulate the full proliferation of cells of the mammary glands and reduce the possibility of the appearance of cancerous formations in them. But with the existing pathology in these genes becomes higher risk of breast cancer. The pathology of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, according to statistics, is about 10% of all cases of the disease.

Hereditary causes of breast cancer

The first time anomalous genes were identified in the process of studying families in which young women already had breast cancer. The high probability that abnormal genes provoking breast cancer are transmitted hereditarily happens for the following reasons:

  1. There are direct female relatives along the lines of one of the parents who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 50 years.
  2. There are women in the family who are currently breast cancer patients.
  3. The direct relatives had a cancer of both mammary glands.
  4. In the family, a male representative of breast cancer was diagnosed.

What are hereditary forms of breast cancer?

There are such hereditary forms of breast cancer:

  1. Ductal, in which cancer cells are located only in the dairy ducts of the gland and do not pass to the tissues that surround it. Such hereditary cancer is often treatable.
  2. Lobular, which begins by affecting the lobules of the breast.
  3. Infiltrative - when the cancer cells begin to go beyond the milk ducts.
  4. Inflammatory, which is characterized by signs of a passing inflammatory process: redness and swelling of the chest, with palpation it is hot.
  5. Paget's disease, which is characterized by a rash appearing on the nipple, similar to eczema.
  6. Tubular - when the cancer cells form akin to a tube.
  7. Mucous - starting from the milk ducts. Cells are rich in mucus.
  8. Brain - when the tumor formation resembles the brain tissue.
  9. Papillary, in which the cancer cells are similar to villi.

Many are mistaken in thinking that hereditary breast cancer is more aggressive than acquired. But studies have shown that breast cancer, provoked by a hereditary factor, is, on the contrary, less aggressive.


How often does hereditary breast cancer occur and who is at risk?

If someone from your family has been found to have abnormal cells that provoke the development of breast cancer, this does not mean that you will get the disease hereditary. Suppose that your mother or father has abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. The risk of inheriting them will be approximately 50%. And your children are at risk of inheriting such genes with a probability of 25%.

In women who have abnormal genes, the likelihood of developing breast cancer in old age is very high. But ignoring the high risks, you need to know that breast cancer does not appear in everyone who has hereditary predispositions. It all depends on what kind of person leads a lifestyle, what kind of environment around him, how other genes protect the body from cancers, etc.

How is hereditary breast cancer determined today?

The first thing it would be more correct to apply for a consultation with a geneticist. Oncogenetics reached a level where it became very easy to carry out prevention and early diagnosis breast cancer, and also to form new ways of breast cancer screening, which include genotyping. To conduct consultations of patients at risk of developing breast cancer, genetic analysis of BRCA1 / 2, TP53, CHEK2 genes is preferable.

Another variant of the study is a genetic test of saliva for the presence of hereditary breast cancer. In some cases, even a negative test result (absence of an anomaly of the gene) does not mean that there is no hereditary predisposition to oncology. Therefore, when the results of the test are obtained, the woman is advised by a geneticist, who, if necessary, determines additional measures for the observation of the patient.

What is genetic analysis for breast cancer?

Genetic analysis of breast cancer helps female representatives find out whether they have hereditary abnormal genes that increase the likelihood of the appearance of breast cancer. The analysis is conducted to find changes in the genes directly associated with this cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2). Changes in these genes are rarely diagnosed, but if they are, the woman's chances of experiencing cancer grow.

What if the tests confirmed the predisposition to hereditary cancer?

If the genetic analysis showed the presence of abnormal genes that increase the likelihood of the occurrence of breast cancer, it is recommended to constantly monitor their condition. To do this, a study using an MRI is suitable. Also, it is recommended to undergo ultrasound of the mammary glands and donate blood to oncomarkers responsible for the presence of breast cancer. If specialists allow, in order to prevent oncology, you can take a medical drug "Tamoxifen". It is necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle: eat right, exercise, control weight and give up harmful habits (cigarettes and spirits).

Women who have a hereditary predisposition to breast cancer should avoid factors that increase the risk of the disease:

  • whether there are benign changes in the mammary glands (mastopathy);
  • very early or vice versa, menstruation started late;
  • up to 35 years the woman did not give birth, or the last child was born after this age;
  • treatment with hormones in the period after menstruation;
  • the presence of harmful habits for the body, such as smoking and drinking large quantities of alcoholic beverages;
  • overweight, diabetes, liver disease and thyroid gland;
  • insufficiency of vitamin D, necessary for the full functioning of the body;
  • ionizing radiation.

All these factors affect the change of the hormonal background and contribute to an increase in the probability the appearance of breast cancer in women with hereditary predisposition to the disease, and even those who do not It has.

What is the tactic of observing healthy carriers of hereditary mutations?

What will be the tactics of observing a healthy carrier of a hereditary mutation is determined purely by the individual, specialist and patient. To inform blood relatives about the confirmation of the existing hereditary anomaly of genes responsible for breast cancer and the inherent risk they have, the patient himself must necessarily be the patient.

Procedures that contribute to reducing cancer risk are divided into several groups:

  1. observation (screening);
  2. surgery for preventive purposes;
  3. treatment with medicinal products.

The most commonly used is surveillance tactics. Reduce the likelihood of development and increase the chances of early diagnosis of breast cancer can be passing every year, a clinical examination, as well as MRI or mammogram of the mammary glands. Such tactics help significantly reduce the likelihood of breast cancer, but it depends on whether the person respects the recommendations that were given by specialists.

Recommendations for female carriers of genes with a mutation

It is necessary to approach the planning of pregnancy and the birth of a child with intelligence. With a view to prevention, it is recommended not to delay with pregnancy, and also, if possible, not to take hormonal preparations, giving preference to barrier-type contraceptives.

Women with abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes can undergo an operation to remove the mammary gland (mastectomy). But before you take this step, you need to think carefully, weighing all the pros and cons.


If there is a hereditary predisposition to the appearance of breast cancer, do not panic. It does not always mean thathereditary breast canceryou will manifest. In order to avoid this disease as much as possible, it is recommended that carriers of abnormal genes be prevented and regularly consulted by a geneticist.


It is important to know:

. Genetic Analysis for Breast Cancer.
. Hereditary cancer of ovaries in women.
. Hereditary cancer of the stomach.