Genetic Nature of Anaplastic Breast Cancer

Jill E. Stopfer
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Question
What is the correlation between the type of breast cancer the mother had and the type of cancer the daughter will get? In other words, am I at risk for the same exact type of cancer my mother had?


Answer
Jill E. Stopfer, MS Certified Genetic Counselor for the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Risk Evaluation Programs, responds:

To start, there is no known association between anaplastic breast cancer and BRCA or BRCA2 mutations. In general, anaplastic breast cancer is not known to occur more frequently in patients with familial breast cancer than in the general population.

Secondly, just having a mother with breast cancer does not necessarily mean you are at risk for developing an inherited breast cancer. Your personal risk for breast cancer would be affected by your mother's age of diagnosis, as well as family history of other cancers. An individualized risk assessment would shed more light on your personal risk. Also, please speak to your doctor about the appropriate screening guidelines for a person with your profile and family history.

There is some data about pathologic types of breast cancer associated with those who have mutations in BRCA1/2, or have family histories of breast cancer just recently published in the Lancet. (Note: This site will require you to register first in order to view the article. After registering, do a search for "familial breast cancer".) While this data points to some trends in histologic types and grades, there is no pattern one can count on within a particular family. That is, just because one person in the family has a particular type of breast cancer doesn't mean other relatives will develop the same type.

For those who are interested in finding a cancer genetics professional in their area - there is a site within the NCI that can provide that information. Please see The Familial Cancer Risk Counseling & Genetic Testing Information Search Form.



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