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payattentiontoyourmothershealthheaderYour mother's health may predict your own.  

Cancer is a word that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of most people, and for very good reasons. Cancer describes the erratic growth and multiplication of cells growing in a particular area of the body and is a disease that is often fatal. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and chances are that if your mom had breast cancer, you are at greater risk of contracting it too. Should you panic? Definitely not, although making time for regular medical checkups and learning how to do self-exams are good ideas.

What if Your Mom Had Breast Cancer?

"If my mom had breast cancer, will I get it too?" 

There has been a great deal of controversy about whether breast cancer is hereditary and some of the findings are still somewhat conflicting.  The general consensus is that the risk is indeed relatively low and that in the majority of cases, breast malignancies are predisposed by environmental factors and not hereditary ones. However, there are case studies that still indicate a higher risk for a woman whose mom had breast cancer.

If a woman knows that she has a family history of breast cancer, testing can be used to ascertain any potential risk factors such as the number of incidences of breast and other cancers that were in the family may indicate a defective gene such as a damaged BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene which means she may have a higher chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. The degree of potential increased incidence of maternal genetic breast cancer is determined by several factors.

Will my daughter get breast cancer if I have it? So many moms that have survived breast cancer fear passing the disease on to their female children, and their concern is certainly justified. It's a well known fact that no mother wants to see her child suffer in any way, and especially not with a horrible disease that could endanger the lives of those she cares about so deeply. The guilt that many cancer surviving moms feel is horrendous, especially if a diagnosis for her daughter's cancer should ever turn out to be fatal.

The risk is greater for mothers and daughters as this relationship is of a first degree relative rather than a second degree like an aunt or grandmother. An increase in the number of relatives that have had breast cancer also determines the degree of risk. Obviously someone with two, three or more family members with cancer are at higher risk than someone with only one member having contracted the disease.

If the family member contracted the cancer early, this presents a greater risk than someone that got a breast malignancy after menopause. A family member with a history of bilateral disease increases the risk as does the fact if the relative with breast cancer is male. The onset of ovarian cancer also incurs an increase in risk of getting cancer.

As breast cancer is the second largest killer of women in the U.S. alone, early detection is the best form of protection for treatment before it gets out of control. It's a very sad fact that too many women feared the worst when they detected a lump and therefore did nothing. Education about the signs of breast cancer is vital as it is then possible to catch it before it gets out of hand. Luckily today's breast cancer patients have newer and better technology to combat the disease and the survival rate is much higher than it previously was. If your mom had breast cancer do yourself and your loved ones a favor and seek medical advice about your chances of contracting the dreaded disease and how you can address it early for the sake of your survival.

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