Every October, people all around the world join together for breast cancer awareness and show support for those affected by breast cancer. Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer[i]. While it is the most common cancer in American women (except for skin cancer), death rates have declined 40% in the last 30 years as a result of improvements in early detection by mammograms[ii].
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), people can present with different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all[iii].
Some warning signs of breast cancer are—
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
What are the risk factors?
Some risk factors, such as being a woman, age, and genetics, cannot be changed. However, the risk of breast cancer can be reduced by making changes in your daily life, such as exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and choosing a healthy diet.
Who should get tested for hereditary cancer?
Genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer can help you better understand your risk of developing breast and other cancers. Usually, genetic testing is recommended if you have[iv]:
- A strong family health history of breast cancer
- A moderate family health history of breast and ovarian cancer and are of Ashkenazi Jewish or Eastern European ancestry
- A personal history of breast cancer and meet certain criteria (related to age of diagnosis, type of cancer, presence of certain other cancers or cancer in both breasts, ancestry, and family health history)
- A known BRCA1, BRCA2, or other inherited mutation in your family
How GenPath Can Support You
A genetic counselor can help determine which test, if any, would be appropriate for you and your family. GenPath, a division of BioReference Laboratories, Inc., offers a comprehensive menu of genetic testing for hereditary breast cancers. If you think you may be at risk of hereditary breast cancer, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provide today to find your answers.
Click here to learn more about how our test offering can help aid in the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.
[i] Susan B. Komen
[ii] American Cancer Society.