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Cancer Genetics

Grandma and Cancer Impact on Grandchild

04/22/2004

Question:

My grandma has had breast cancer twice and I was wondering if I could get it? Please write back soon My grandma is almost gone.

Answer:

Having a grandmother who has had breast cancer increases your chance of developing breast cancer a bit; without having any relatives who have had breast cancer, your chance is about 12% over your life time. Having a grandmother who has had breast cancer increases your risk to about 16-20%. If your grandmother had breast cancer at an early age, or had bilateral breast cancer, and the first breast cancer was at an early age, your chances of developing breast cancer may be somewhat higher. You would probably benefit from talking with a genetic counselor who would be able to look at your entire family history, and who would be able to give you a more accurate assessment based on both your family history and your personal medical history. To find a genetic counselor, you can go to the website for the National Society of Genetic Counselors and find a counselor who works near you. The website is http://www.nsgc.org/ 

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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University