According to a new study, a woman with a strong family history of breast cancer is at a four times higher risk of breast cancer than that of the general population -- even if she does not carry one of the BRCA genes. And in women younger than age 40 without the BRCA gene, but with a very strong family history, the risk is about 15 times higher than the general population.A woman who tests positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 has an 80 percent lifetime risk of getting breast cancer, while women such as those in her study with a strong family history but no BRCA1 or 2 mutation have about a 40 percent lifetime risk. The average woman has about a 10 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
The findings suggest there are other genetic mutations that play a role in breast cancer. Women with a strong family history might consider more frequent screening, including breast MRI. Also, these women should use anti-cancer drugs such as tamoxifen to prevent getting breast cancer.
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