If you are a woman considered to be at high risk of breast cancer, there are several measures to help preventing the disease.
Reasons for being at high risk of breast cancer include:
- A family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer
- A previous history of pre-malignant (benign) breast changes
- A personal history of cancer
In cases with these characteristics, breast cancer prevention might start with a genetic test. Most hereditary breast cancers are caused by mutations in two genes: BRAC1 and BRAC2. As result, genetic testing allows the identification of most of these patients, and those families at risk.
However, this option should always be looked into together with the medical specialists on evaluation and management of risk in cancer. They are trained not only to explain the implications of the test, but also to support you through it.
As part of the process, high-risk women should be followed regularly and frequently have exams, such as a mammogram and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
If they desire so, these women can also have prophylactic surgery (preventive mastectomy/removal of the breast).
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