July 22nd, 2021
Many women who develop breast cancer don’t have a family history of this disease. However, if your mother has been diagnosed with this cancer, it does increase your risks. This is why it’s important to be aware of your family history, which includes second-degree and third-degree relatives. The American Society of Clinical Oncology even has a Cancer Family History Questionnaire that you can use.
You can ask your mother about her diagnosis. You can also investigate to collect more information about the cancers running in your family. This includes an aunt, father, uncle, niece, nephew, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, and great-grandmother. You will need to know what type of cancer the relative had, at what age was it diagnosed, and whether they got better, are still living with cancer, or have died.
If more than one member in the family has breast cancer and if both their organs are affected, these are among some of the red flags that demand attention and prompt measures on your end.
Once you’re aware of your family history of breast cancer, the next step is consulting a doctor and opting for genetic testing and genetic counseling. It’s important to note here that while both genetic testing and counseling are very helpful, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop breast cancer even if you do not have a breast cancer gene. (On the other hand, just because someone in your family has had or has cancer doesn’t mean you have to live in fear all the time.)
Annual screening is highly critical, especially for women at a higher risk. You should search “mammography services near me” and find a good community outreach center or clinic and get your mammogram. This is also recommended for women who can’t find out about their family history regarding cancer.
Regular screening can keep you updated about your health. It can ensure early diagnosis if you develop breast cancer, which is crucial. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better it can be treated. In any case, stay in touch with your doctor and keep them informed about your family history, annual mammograms, and other health issues that could possibly be the early signs of breast cancer.