Is it possible for you to not have breast cancer even if it runs in your family? | Health - Hindustan Times
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Is it possible that you wouldn't get diagnosed with breast cancer even if it runs in your family?

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Oct 12, 2022 06:43 PM IST

Although it is commonly believed that breast cancer mainly affects women, men can also get this disease rarely but is it possible that you wouldn't get diagnosed with breast cancer even if it runs in your family? Doctors answer

A significant risk factor for breast cancer is family history and a woman's risk of getting breast cancer rises if she has a mother, sister or daughter who has had the disease (first-degree relatives), as well as several other family members on either her mother's or father's side. Although it's commonly believed that breast cancer mainly affects women, men can also get this disease rarely.

Is it possible that you wouldn't get diagnosed with breast cancer even if it runs in your family?(Klaus Nielsen)
Is it possible that you wouldn't get diagnosed with breast cancer even if it runs in your family?(Klaus Nielsen)

Moreover, if a woman has a first-degree male relative with breast cancer, her risk is raised. However, is it possible that you wouldn't get diagnosed with breast cancer even if it runs in your family?

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shivali Ahlawat, Lab Director at Oncquest Laboratories Ltd, answered, “Well, it is quite common that despite having a family history of breast cancer, you wouldn't be diagnosed with it. Not all risk factors have the same effects, and having one does not guarantee that you will develop the disease.”

She advised, “In case of any suspicion or doubt, one should immediately consult with a qualified oncologist because negligence further enhances complications and prolonged treatment. So, in case a person notices or feels some abnormal changes in one or both breasts must go for proper breast cancer screening.”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Chaitanyanand B Koppiker, Breast Cancer, Breast Oncoplastic and Reconstruction Surgeon, revealed, “Yes, even if breast cancer runs in your family, it is not necessary that you would get breast cancer.”

He explained, “Generally, a small proportion (5-10%) of breast cancers can have a hereditary basis due to a mutation in a breast cancer predisposing gene. A strong family history of breast cancer in immediate family members such as parents, grandparents or siblings may imply such a genetic basis. However, even with the presence of family history it is not necessary that a mutation is present and even if a mutation is present it is not necessary that all family members will carry this mutation.”

He added, “Even if a person harbors the mutation, it may increase the risk of breast cancer to 60-70% but does not necessarily mean that the person will develop breast cancer. A person can mitigate their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with adequate physical exercise and routine surveillance.”

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