If wishing made it so, cancer would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, breast cancer is still a reality for many women, and too many of them didn’t realize they were at risk in the first place.
But you don’t have to let breast cancer catch you off guard.
Knowing your health status is the first step in stopping deadly diseases like cancer. In this blog, the Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care team in Frisco, Texas, walks you through your next steps when you know you’re at risk for breast cancer.
Knowing for sure you’re at risk
The good news is that breast cancer isn’t a likelihood for most women. Those who are most at risk are those with a family history of breast cancer — but not just any family history.
If your great-great-aunt had breast cancer, you might not have too much reason to worry. But if two or more close relatives (like your mother and sister) were diagnosed before the age of 50, your risk is higher.
Some women are at risk because they have a particular genetic mutation that makes them more susceptible. The genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA stands for BReast CAncer). The only way to know if you have either of these genes is to undergo genetic testing. The same genetic test can also pick up a gene that causes ovarian cancer.
Here are some other statistics on the likelihood of breast cancer in women:
- 13 in 100 women will get breast cancer
- 72% of women with the BRCA1 gene will have breast cancer by age 80
- 69% of women with the BRCA2 gene will have breast cancer by age 80
It’s important to fully understand your level of risk before making medical decisions. Talk to our team about your concerns, and we can help you determine your risk factors.
I’m at high risk — What now?
You have a few choices when you find out you’re at an increased risk for breast cancer, and it all depends on your risk level. Here’s a closer look.
The first is simple: Get frequent checkups and testing. Regular checks can be done at Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care. We recommend every woman be tested regularly for breast cancer, but if you’re more likely to get it, you may need more tests more often.
We may also recommend you take medication. For example, tamoxifen interferes with the effects of estrogen on breast cancer cells and normal breast cells. Taking this medication mitigates the likelihood of breast cancer in women who are at high risk and younger than 50.
Other breast cancer prevention medications include raloxifene and aromatase inhibitors like anastrozole. We can help you determine which is right for you.
Some go a step further and have surgery to remove their breasts — sometimes, this is the best option if you have one of the BRCA genes and have a much higher risk.
The final decision is ultimately up to you, but we can guide you through the pros and cons and help you navigate your options.
If you’d like more information about your risk for breast cancer, don’t hesitate to make a women’s health appointment. Call 214-550-0911 or book an appointment online with Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care today.