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Male breast cancer in family leads to high perception of risk, low likelihood of genetic counseling
Date:7/29/2010

Louisville, Ky. -- People with a family history of male breast cancer perceive themselves to be at higher risk of developing the disease than do patients with a family history of female breast cancer; however those with male breast cancer in their families are less likely to know about or seek genetic testing than those with a family history of female breast cancer, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

"Male breast cancer is rare and accounts for only about one percent of all breast cancers, but families in which breast cancer has occurred could have a 60 to 76 percent chance of carrying a genetic mutation that makes the development of breast cancer at a young age highly likely," said Suzanne Schiffman, MD, a general surgery resident at the University of Louisville and lead author on this study.

"Patients who are at significant genetic risk of developing breast cancer may be eligible for surveillance screening or consideration of prophylactic therapy, and it's important that these individuals know their risk so they can take appropriate action if they want to."

The study was published in the August issue of the journal The American Surgeon. It was funded by the University of Louisville's Department of Surgery.

The researchers used data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Supplement, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the National Center for Health Statistics, to obtain data from 2,429 individuals with a first-degree relative a parent, sibling or child with breast cancer. The data were separated into two groups those with a first-degree male relative with breast cancer, and those with a first-degree female relative with breast cancer. Data about perceived risk of inheriting genetic disease, genetic counseling and genetic testing were collected and compared between the two groups.

Schiffman
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Contact: Lauren Williams
lauren.williams@louisville.edu
502-852-7461
University of Louisville
Source:Eurekalert

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