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The decision to have genetic testing for breast cancer

Now that the scientific technology is there to offer genetic testing for people who suspect a family predisposition for breast cancer, the choice is up to the individual whether or not she wishes to know of her genetic outlook, according to a recent report from

One of the false assumptions that many people have is that they can only inherit breast cancer genes from their mother. This is not true, according to genetics counselor Maegan Roberts.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes refer to mutations in the BRCA normal gene, which is associated with a much higher chance of developing breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 can be inherited from one's mother or father.

Many people who do develop breast cancer do not have either one of these genes. However, the possession of a BRCA mutation increases the risks for breast cancer significantly.

According to the report, knowing whether one possesses these gene mutations allows for earlier mental preparation, as well as higher vigilance when it comes to self-breast exams and scheduling regular mammograms.

About 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the U.S., a rate that is roughly the same in other developed countries. Women over the age of 40 are encouraged to undergo testing every year.
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