NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
Hereditary breast cancer is caused by abnormal
genes that were passed down from a parent to a
child. Your disease or family history may suggest
you have hereditary breast cancer. In this case,
your doctor will refer you for genetic counseling. A
genetic counselor is an expert in gene mutations that
are related to disease. Your counselor can tell you
more about your chances of having hereditary breast
Your genetics counselor may suggest that you
undergo genetic testing.
mutations that are related to breast cancer are well-
known. Other genes may be tested as well. These
genes may cause cancers other than just breast
cancer. Your counselor will explain what your test
results mean and what action is needed.
Findings of gene mutations may impact your
cancer care. Your test results may be used to
guide treatment planning. Read Part 4 to learn how
hereditary breast cancer may affect your options for
breast surgery. Also, you may need to be watched
more closely if your chances for another cancer
type is high. Your family may also need to undergo
Some genetic test results are called VUS (
ignificance). They are not fully understood
by doctors. Also, they do not impact your treatment.
Your doctors may know of research that aims to learn
more. If interested, ask your doctors about taking
part in such research.
If you still have menstrual periods, your doctors will
have important information to share with you. First,
it is important that you do 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
Second, some cancer treatments may affect your
ability to have babies in the future. After treatment
has ended, some women decide they want to have
another baby. If you want to have babies after
treatment or are unsure, tell your doctors.
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 discuss with you ways to help you
have a baby after treatment.