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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

The Role of Genetics in Breast Cancer: Exploring Hereditary Factors

Breast cancer is a complex disease influenced by various factors, including genetics. Understanding the role of hereditary factors and genetic mutations is crucial in comprehending the predisposition, risk assessment, and management of breast cancer.

Introduction: Unraveling the Genetic Puzzle

Genetics play a significant role in approximately 5-10% of breast cancer cases. Hereditary breast cancer stems from inherited gene mutations passed down through generations, increasing the risk of developing breast cancer.

Hereditary Breast Cancer Genes

BRCA1 and BRCA2:

  • BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most extensively studied and commonly known breast cancer susceptibility genes.

  • Carrying mutations in these genes significantly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, among others.

Other Genes:

  • Besides BRCA1/2, mutations in genes like TP53 (Li-Fraumeni syndrome), PTEN (Cowden syndrome), and PALB2 (partner and localizer of BRCA2) are associated with increased breast cancer risk.

Inheritance Patterns

Autosomal Dominant Inheritance:

  • Inheriting one mutated copy of the gene from either parent increases the risk of breast cancer.

  • Offspring have a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene.

Penetrance and Variability:

  • Penetrance refers to the likelihood of developing cancer with a specific gene mutation.

  • Variable expressivity leads to varying cancer types and ages of onset among carriers.

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC)

Characteristics and Impact:

  • HBOC syndrome encompasses a significant portion of hereditary breast cancer cases.

  • Carriers have a higher risk of developing breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

Genetic Testing and Counseling

Importance and Process:

  • Genetic testing identifies specific gene mutations linked to hereditary breast cancer.

  • Genetic counseling guides individuals on the implications of test results, discussing risk management and family planning.

Criteria and Eligibility:

  • Criteria for genetic testing include personal or family history suggestive of hereditary cancer.

  • Updated guidelines and criteria evolve as research advances.

Risk Assessment and Management

Risk Reduction Strategies:

  • Risk-reducing surgeries (prophylactic mastectomy or oophorectomy) for high-risk individuals.

  • Enhanced surveillance with earlier and more frequent screenings.

Impact on Treatment Decisions:

  • Genetic testing results may influence treatment choices, such as targeted therapies.

Community and Support

Support for Carriers:

  • Support groups, online communities, and counseling services offer emotional and informational support.

  • Empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health.

breast cancer support and free programs

Conclusion: Empowering Knowledge for Informed Decisions

Understanding the role of genetics in breast cancer empowers individuals to assess their risk, make informed decisions, and adopt proactive health measures. Genetic testing and counseling facilitate personalized risk management strategies, emphasizing the importance of awareness, early detection, and support in the fight against hereditary breast cancer.



Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

May 20 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


In Body Breathwork

May 21 ,  6:00 p.m. ET


Brain Spotting

May 27,  6:00 p.m. ET


Qi Gong

May 28,  11:30 a.m. ET


Art Therapy

June 3, 6:00 p.m. ET


Forest Bathing

Jun 4,  6:00 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

June 10,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

June 11, 11:30 a.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

June 11,  6:00 p.m. ET


Más eventos en español


Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

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