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All TopicsForum: High Risk for Breast Cancer → Topic: Family member as only one with breast cancer

Topic: Family member as only one with breast cancer

Forum: High Risk for Breast Cancer — Due to family history, genetics, or other factors.

Posted on: Oct 1, 2010 09:25PM - edited Oct 1, 2010 09:29PM by girlhitscar8

girlhitscar8 wrote:

Hi everyone,

I have a question, where I can't find much information about it.  

Did some of you people had a mother who were the only in the family with breast cancer?

Or a grandmother who was the only one with breast cancer, but the rest of the family (including your mother) never had breastcancer?

It frustrates me, because when you find information about breast cancer, there is more information about inherited breast cancer. But what if your mother or grandmother was the only one with breastcancer, what is the risk forthe children.  Especially if the mother or grandmother was older then 50 years old and after her menopause.

Are there any (old) women who never had breastcancer, even though their mother had breast cancer?

I hope there is, because if I google for information, it seems that every breastcancer is an inherited breast cancer, while there is a litte rate of people with an inherited form of breastcancer.

I hope one of you can tell me.

From information of several doctors I heard that if only a mother had breastcancer or only the grandmother in the family had breast cancer, the risk of the children is barely higher then the rest of the women. Especially if the mother or grandmother had breast cancer in her 50s or older.

Ps. I am sorry for my bad English, I am originally from the Netherlands.

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Oct 1, 2010 09:31PM Makratz wrote:

I had breast cancer and no one else in my family has.  Not my mother or grandmother.  I have 26 female cousins and I am the first one.  Does not make sense.

My best to you!

Linda...♥♥♥ Never, never, never give up ~ Winston Churchill
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Oct 1, 2010 11:34PM LRM216 wrote:

Me too.  I was 62 when diagnosed - mammos every year since 40, not even 1 call back.  No one on either side of my large family has been diagnosed with any sort of cancer at all.  Go figure - triple neg to boot.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end, it's about learning to dance in the rain ... Age 62 at diagnose Dx 2/23/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/6/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/24/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2009 Breast
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Oct 1, 2010 11:37PM CoolBreeze wrote:

It's a myth that breast cancer is always or usually inheirted.  Just tlike any other cancer, it appears out of nowhere.  Many women have mothers with breast cancer who don't get it, and many woman get breast cancer when their mothers never did.

It's  crapshoot.

There is a gene that is passed own that causes breast cancer, the BRCA gene.  However, most women who get cancer don't have the gene.  Even if your mother and you both have it, it doesn't mean you have the gene.

Ann's cancer blog: www.butdoctorihatepink.com .....multicentric/multifocal IDC/ILC+DCIS/LCIS/ADH Official dx? "Your breast was a mess." ~UniMastectomy/Chemo/Herceptin/Tamoxifen/Recon Almost Done! Oh wait. mets to liver 5/21/11 Now Stage IV Dx 8/17/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Oct 1, 2010 11:51PM nydeb wrote:

Hi, my mom went through early menopause at age 40 and came down with breast cancer in her left breast at age 42 (this was almost 30 years ago - she had a mastectomy on the one breast with no reconstruction and Thank God, she's fine today).  My sister, who is younger than me, had early menopause (around age 35) and then developed breast cancer in her left breast at age 42.  She had a lumpectomy and radiation.  She is now 46 years old and fine.  I am going to be 50 soon and I have not gone through menopause, but I had very early breast cancer in my left breast and decided to have a double mastectomy this past spring.  I decided to have both breasts removed because I didn't want to worry about going through a mastectomy twice.  When they did the testing on the "healthy' breast, they also found the beginnings of early breast cancer in that one too.  None of that showed up in all of the tests that they did on me.  So I was very relieved that I had both breasts removed.  My sister tested positive for the BRCA gene.  My mother and I were both tested and we tested negative from the BRCA gene.  So my sister inherited it from our father's side of the family.  So, no one on my mom's side of the family had any cancer before my mom got it.  My dad's aunts all had breast cancer, so that explains where my sister got it.  But the point is that even though my mom was the first one to get the breast cancer on her side of the family and she didn't have the BRCA gene, she still got it and so did I.  It just strengthens my belief that all women should get mammograms to be safe.  My surgeon told me that if I had waited six more months, my cancer would have spread and I would have needed chemo and radiation.  I feel very fortunate that it was discovered very early and that I made the decision to get the double mastectomies.  I now have saline implants and I don't worry too much about having breast cancer ever again since the surgeon said my chances of it every coming back would be extremely small.  I hope this helps.  Please just get your mammograms every year and God forbid, if they find something, be aggressive in taking action to get rid of it as soon as possible.  Good luck and God Bless you. 

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Oct 2, 2010 12:42AM awb wrote:

your risk is doubled if you have a primary relative  (mother, sister, or daughter) with bc; only slightly elevated if it is a secondary relative (grandmother, aunt, cousin)


"I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future" Dx 9/5/2003, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes Surgery 9/16/2003 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 10/30/2003 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 4/5/2005 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2009 Evista (raloxifene)
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Oct 2, 2010 09:28AM Beesie wrote:

You are asking questions for which there are no clear answers. 

With the possible exception of women who get BC as a result of the BRCA genetic mutation (or another known mutation that increases BC risk) whether or not one is going to develop breast cancer is a virtually impossible question to answer.  This is true whether you have a strong family history (many family members), a weak family history (only one family member), or no family history. 

There are dozens and dozens of causes of breast cancer - probably hundreds - and most likely it is a combination of different factors that lead to the development of breast cancer in each of us.

  • Some risk factors have a strong direct genetic link.  If one of your parents (either your mother or your father) carries the BRCA genetic mutation and if you inherited it (there would be a 50/50 chance of that), then you are at very high risk to get breast cancer.  But even if your grandmother had the mutation, your mother inherited it and then you inherited it, it doesn't mean that all 3 of you will get breast cancer.  While a high percentage of women with the mutation do get breast cancer, some women don't. So you might carry the gene from your mother but your mother may never have had BC.  Or you might carry the gene from your father.  In addition to the BRCA genetic mutation, there are a few other genetic mutations that also increase breast cancer risk, and there are likely to be more discovered in the future.  But overall these represent a relatively small percent of women who get breast cancer.
  • Other risk factors have an indirect genetic link.  In my case, my mother has extremely dense breast tissue.  I have extremely dense breast tissue.  Just guessing, but in all likelihood I inherited this condition from my mother.  Women who have extremely dense breast tissue are at higher risk to get breast cancer.  My mother got breast cancer when she was 80; I got breast cancer when I was 49.  Is there a genetic link there?  Quite possibly but at this point, it's probably impossible to know for sure.  It's also not known what percent of women with breast cancer fall into this category, where there may be some inherited feature/condition that leads to the development of breast cancer.
  • Another group of risk factors may have a familial, but not genetic, link.  Based on where you lived and your lifestyle, you and your mother (and other family members) may have been exposed to the some of the same environmental/lifestyle factors that increase the risk of getting breast cancer.  So several members of a family might all get breast cancer and yet there is no actual genetic link.
  • Lastly, there are all the personal, lifestyle and environmental factors that have no genetic or familial link.  Your exposure to estrogen (at what age your periods started and stopped, how many children you had, whether you took birth control pills and/or HRT, etc.), your diet, the environmental toxins you are exposed to daily, etc... all present risks that may or may not lead to the development of breast cancer in any one individual. 

Looking at all women, it's certainly true that on average, women with first degree relatives who've had BC do have a higher risk that they'll get BC too.  However for any one individual there might not actually be any increase in risk at all.  Unless the specific cause of your mother's (or sister's) cancer is known (eg. the BRCA mutation), there is no way to know if you will be affected by the same thing. So it's assumed that you carry a risk, although in fact you might not.  But to be on the safe side, anyone with a first degree relative who's had BC is considered to be at higher risk, and should be watched more closely.

What it comes down to is that 1 in 12 women in North America will get breast cancer during her lifetime.  Some will have mothers or grandmothers or sisters who've also had breast cancer, and the connection might be genetic, it might be familial, or each case might be completely random and unconnected. Others who get BC will have no family history at all, and while most of these cases will be random, in some cases there might be a genetic or familial link even though no other family members ever got the disease.  While there are genetic and familial links and connections, and while there are known environmental factors that increase risk, for each of us individuals, as Coolbreeze said, it's a crapshoot.

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage IA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Oct 2, 2010 04:20PM - edited Aug 20, 2013 05:51AM by LISAMG

Hereditary BC makes up approx. 15% of all breast cancers, whereas sporadic BC occupies 80% of ALL BC's...a huge difference!!

Can hereditary BC occur with women over the age of 50? Of course, but usually with multiple cases of both pre/post menopausal cancers and often occur at younger ages across generations. Any young woman, with or without a family history should consider genetic testing, especially with triple negative BC. As previously mentioned, hereditary pre-disposition to bc can be a crap shoot. I know many BRCA+ women with little or no family history too.

High Risk for HBOC, BRCA Un-informative Negative Previvor, Bilateral Nipple Sparing Risk Reducing Mastectomy, August, 2010, Lipo/ Micro fat grafting with high profile implants, Nov.,2010. Risk Reducing Lap. BSO, October, 2011.
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Oct 2, 2010 04:23PM jpb wrote:

I am 44 years old and the only one in a very large family that has had breast cancer. Just special I guess!

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Oct 2, 2010 04:28PM - edited Oct 2, 2010 05:14PM by girlhitscar8

But several doctors told me, that if it is not genetic as the only one in the family, that the risk of the children is not much higher then of aother women. Because breast cancer just appears more on women above the 50s and my mother was unfortunatelly one of those women. I have to tell that most of my family lives in Surinam. That is why all women in the Netherlands above the 50s have to check every 2 years. But even though doctors telling me these information, I still chechking my breasts a view times each day, because I have hypochondria (Anxiety disorder). Currently I get help for this. I am really unhappy. It runs my life, that is why I want to know if there womem who had a invidual in the family as the only one who had breast cancer. Madonna, Naomi Campbell or Nicole Kidman had/have a mother who had breast cancer, but they didn't get it. Next year I am going to move to Surinam (south america) because the Netherlands really depres me. The new government of the Netherlands wants to cut in the health care, something what we all need right now with many diseases spreading around. All these wurries me.

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Oct 5, 2010 04:37AM deb219 wrote:

hi, i was34 when i had breast cancer, i had a mastectomy, followed by chemo & eventually 18 months later had reconstruction.  There is no family history of breast cancer, i have a 19 year old daughter, a younger sister & over 12 female cousins, who have to date had no problems, i on the other hand have just been recalled for a 2nd mammogram this year, now i am 41 and last year had my 5 year clear, so i was a bit taken aback when i was then told that they have found a lump in my right  breast, i have just had an ultra scan & 3 biospsies, & waiting for the results, which to say the very least i am not that confident about receiving.  Waiting in antisipation!!!!!

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Oct 5, 2010 05:02AM herxiaL wrote:

One of my cousin is diagnosed with breast cancer but there is no history of breast cancer in our family. I tried to research about it and I found out that it can be in our family tree but it was not properly diagnosed. Because those members of our family was first diagnosed with other ailment. I am not really sure or it can be that her breast cancer was triggered with other reasons.

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Oct 5, 2010 05:25AM debbie6122 wrote:

Deb- Welcome to a forum no one wants to be part of but glad you found us- sorry if you have to go thru this again, but hoping for b9 results for you- were here if you need us (((((hugs)))))

Bessie- Great posts as always!

masectomy, chemo, node positive Dx 12/20/2009, IDC, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 5, 2010 05:44AM ElaineD wrote:

Where have you found the assertion:

"every breast cancer is an inherited one"

In actual fact, very few bcs are inherited, and most fall into exactly the categories you are seeking. They are random events with little or no family connection.

Dx 11/4/2007, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Oct 23, 2010 01:33AM - edited Oct 26, 2010 01:14AM by herxiaL

Thanks guys to your posts, I had a lot of additional informations about breast cancer. Now I will not think that it's purely inherited. I'm now aware of the importance of finding breast cancer early. It's risk factors and the signs and symptoms. And the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Thanks again. And thanks for those who are inviting us in some events that supports breast cancer patients, like the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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