Q: Is breast cancer hereditary? Are there ways to get tested?

Now, only about 5 to 10% of breast cancer is inherited from one’s parent. Now, this may take up a minority but all of us remember the Angelina Jolie example. Now, Angelina Jolie shocked the world in May 2013 when she underwent a double mastectomy because she has a family history of breast cancer. She herself has not gotten breast cancer. Now, should we all follow example and remove our breasts as a form of prevention? Of course, it is a prevention but it is only applicable to a small proportion of women. Only women with a significant family history of breast and ovarian cancer and carry the mutated gene of BRCA1 or 2 should do something radical as that. Most of us do not carry that gene, and therefore, removing one’s breasts would be something that is over treatment and too radical. It is something that we should considered if we have a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer and many relatives who are very young. If we are worried, we can always opt for a test to test if we have the mutation in our families and this test is widely available in Singapore. It is a blood test to test for these mutated genes.

Answered by: Dr Esther Chuwa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *