Hereditary Breast Cancer

Breast cancer risk can be inherited in some families, due to damaged genes that have been passed down through generations. Your family history can give clues to how high your risk may be.

Should you be screened for hereditary cancer?

Having a family history of breast cancer does not always mean that you or other family members will develop cancer. Many women believe that their breast cancer risk is higher than it actually is. Working together with a genetic counselor can help you sort out your family history to learn about your true risk and ways to manage it. Sometimes, genetic testing is helpful in this process.


BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer) are the two genes most frequently associated with hereditary breast cancer. An individual’s chance of inheriting a damaged BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene is different in each family and depends on the family history. A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Learn more about BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Understanding Your Risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer

Here are some signs to look for. If you or a close relative have had any of the following, a hereditary breast cancer assessment may be valuable for your health.

  • Breast cancer under age 40-50
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • Fallopian tube cancer at any age
  • Peritoneal cancer at any age
  • Breast and / or ovarian cancer in the same person
  • Male breast cancer
  • Breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer in an Ashkenazi
  • (Eastern European ancestry) Jewish family

Genetic counselors can help you navigate your family history, determine whether genetic testing is appropriate for you and help you understand how to be proactive about managing your risks. Hoag offers a robust Hereditary Cancer Program, which offers genetic counseling as well as testing, an important combination when evaluating hereditary cancer.

Learn more about Hoag’s Hereditary Cancer Program, or schedule an appointment, by calling 949-764-5764.

Continuum of awareness

Whether it is time for your annual breast screening or you have an area of concern, it is extremely valuable for you to be proactive in your breast health.

Hoag’s comprehensive breast program offers the most advanced screening technologies, along with a compassionate and specialized breast care team.

With a multidisciplinary approach that includes awareness, prevention, early detection, use of promising therapies, and extensive complementary support programs, our team at Hoag is here to help you with your specific breast health needs. Schedule your mammogram today.