Women with breast cancer who have a family history of breast cancer do not have worse outcomes than women without a family history of breast cancer.
Researchers looked at the records of 2850 women age 40 or younger who were diagnosed in the UK from 2000 to 2008.
About 66% had no family history; and about 34% had a first-degree (mother, sister or daughter) or second-degree (aunt, niece or grandmother) relative who had been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer.
Women with a family history of breast cancer were more likely to be diagnosed with cancers that were grade 3 (cancer cells that look very different from healthy cells and grow quickly in disorganized, irregular patterns.) They were less likely to be diagnosed with HER2-positive disease.
There were no differences in cancer recurrence between the two groups. After five years of diagnosis both groups were cancer-free.
Patients with a family history of breast cancer can therefore be reassured that family history alone does not mean that their outcome will be worse.