You don’t have to sign up for Ancestry.com, but you should quiz your parents about your family history. It’s important to know if an abnormal gene that increases breast cancer risk runs in your family.
Here are a few questions to ask the next time you’re sitting around the dinner table:
- Have women in our family had breast and/or ovarian cancer before age 50?
- Have women in our family had cancer involving both breasts?
- Do breast and ovarian cancer run in our family?
- Have men in our family had breast cancer?
- Have male relatives on the same side of the family had prostate cancer at a young age?
- Have male or female relatives on the same side of the family had gastrointestinal cancers, such as cancer of the pancreas, gall bladder, or stomach?
- Is our family of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent?
If the answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, consider speaking to a genetic counselor to learn more.
A family history doesn’t necessarily mean you will get breast cancer, but it does mean you should take extra precaution.