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What are my options if I have a "cancer gene"?

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Women in high-risk categories (first-degree relative with breast cancer, prior abnormal breast biopsy results with atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ) and carriers of the genes associated with breast cancer should consider starting regular breast cancer screening at age 25 or 10 years earlier than the age of the youngest relative with breast cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Some women choose preventive (prophylactic) mastectomy to decrease the chances of developing breast cancer, although this doesn't offer complete protection. Another approach includes using anti-estrogen drugs, such as:

  • Tamoxifen, a drug useful for pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women
  • Evista, a drug used to treat osteoporosis that is useful only for post-menopausal women
  • Aromasin, an aromatase inhibitor that is also useful only for post-menopausal women

From: Breast Cancer and Genetic Testing WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCE: National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on January 22, 2017

SOURCE: National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on January 22, 2017

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What are the potential problems with genetic testing?

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