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24

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Breast Cancer - Early-Stage

(STAGES I AND II)

, Version 1.2016

2

Treatment planning

Genetic counseling | Fertility counseling

Genetic counseling

If you may have hereditary breast cancer, your

doctor will refer you for genetic couseling. A genetic

counselor is an expert in gene mutations 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 gene mutations 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 about taking part in such research.

Fertility counseling

If you still have menstrual periods, your doctors will

have important information to share with you. First,

it is important that you not get pregnant during most

cancer treatments. Cancer treatments may harm

your baby. Your doctors can tell you which birth

control methods are best to use while going through

treatment.

Second, some breast cancer treatments may affect

your ability to have babies in the future. If you want

the choice of having babies after treatment or are

unsure, tell your doctors. After treatment has ended,

some women decide they want to have another baby.

If you still have menstrual periods, it may help

to talk with a fertility specialist before you begin

cancer treatment. A fertility specialist is an expert in

helping women get pregnant. The fertility specialist

can explain the ways to help you have a baby after

treatment.