NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Stage IV Breast Cancer - page 17

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
Stage IV Breast Cancer, Version 1.2014
15
2
Treatment planning
Genetic counseling
Genetic counseling
About 10 out of 100 breast cancers are due to
changes in genes that are passed down from a parent
to a child. This is called hereditary breast cancer.
Using your age, medical history, and family history,
your doctor will assess how likely you are to have
hereditary breast cancer. If the likelihood is high, you
should see a genetic counselor.
A genetic counselor is an expert in changes within
genes that are related to disease. The counselor
can tell you more about how likely you are to have
hereditary breast cancer. He or she may suggest
that you undergo genetic testing to look for changes
in genes that increase your chances of developing
breast cancer.
Hereditary breast cancer is most often caused by
mutations in the
BRCA1
and
BRCA2
genes. Normal
BRCA
genes help to prevent tumor growth by fixing
damaged cells and helping cells grow normally.
Genetic testing can tell if you have a BRCA or another
mutation. Your test results may be used to guide
treatment planning.
Some abnormal changes in genes, called VUS
(
v
ariants of
u
nknown
s
ignificance), are not fully
understood by doctors. Your doctors may know of
research that aims to learn more. If interested, ask
your doctors.
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