Investigating a Family Health History

Men have the same chance as women of carrying a mutation in high risk breast cancer gene, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 therefore it is as important for men and women to investigate their family health history.

There are certain factors that can increase the chance a person carries a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation such as;

      • any close relatives male or female with breast cancer AND/OR
      • any close female relatives with ovarian cancer AND/OR
      • Anyone in your family who is known mutation in a high risk breast cancer gene such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 in your family (no matter how close the relative is to you) AND/OR
      • Family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer AND Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry

If you have any of the above factors are present in your family health history it is worth discussing with your local doctor what the history means for your own health and for the health of other close relatives including your children.

Mapping your Family Health History

The first place to start is to map your personal and family health history. This means asking your close relatives about their health history. Pink Hope has a Family History Tree document that can help you map your family health history. It is important to consider both the history on your mother and father’s side of the family.

Once you have documented your family health history, make an appointment to see your GP. Your GP will help you by reviewing your family health history and assess your risk and be able to provide you with advice regarding whether you are eligible for a referral to a Family Cancer Clinic.

Men with a Personal History of Breast Cancer

Male breast cancer is rare, approximately 1 in every 100 000 men develop breast cancer. Whilst the causes of male breast cancer remain largely unknown, a small number of men carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

All men with a personal history of breast cancer should discuss with a health professional and/or seek a referral to a Family Cancer Clinic to have their family history assessed.

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