CPD: Key questions on breast and ovarian cancer genetics – Pulse

Posted: January 16, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Learning Objectives

This module will update you on the role of genetics in breast and ovarian cancer, including:

Dr Marc Tischkowitz is a reader and consultant in medical genetics at the University of Cambridge and East Anglian Medical Genetic Service

There are a few key questions that can give an idea of whether family history needs to be explored further:

These four questions should identify the need for a more detailed investigation is required. It is crucial to ask about the paternal side. All the main cancer susceptibility genes can be passed on by either sex but as men rarely get breast cancer, the history can appear more distant on the male side. The cancer pattern can be masked if there are lots of males in a family, so it is important to ask about the male/female balance. If a woman has a paternal grandmother, aunt or cousins with breast or ovarian cancer this should be taken as seriously as a positive maternal history. Ask for this information directly, as it is often not volunteered. If I were only allowed one key message in this article, it would be always to ask about paternal history.

BRCA1/BRCA2variants are 10 times more common in those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, so it is important to ask about this where appropriate.

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CPD: Key questions on breast and ovarian cancer genetics - Pulse

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