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Genetic Testing

Sean T. Canale, MD, FACS -  - Oncoplastic Breast Surgery

Carolina Breast Care Specialists, PA

Sean T. Canale, MD, FACS

Oncoplastic Breast Surgery located in Raleigh, NC

Understanding your risks of developing breast cancer can help guide your preventive care options. At Carolina Breast Care Specialists, PA, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr. Sean T. Canale, MD, FACS, includes state-of-the-art risk assessment and extended panel genetic testing in his approach to breast care. Call Carolina Breast Care Specialists, or schedule an appointment online; same-day, or next-day appointments are often available.

Genetic Testing Q & A

Can genetic testing detect breast cancer?

Genetic testing is a medical screening that looks for specific changes in your genes, chromosomes, or proteins. These tests can identify increased risks associated with certain genetic disorders, including those linked to breast cancer.

The most well-known genes identified with mutations that might increase your chances of developing breast and ovarian cancers include:

  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • PALB2

Genetic testing that confirms an inherited mutation or change in these genes doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop breast cancer, and the majority of breast cancer cases aren’t genetic. But understanding your risks can help you take important steps in preventive care and early detection.

Do I need genetic testing and counseling?

Dr. Canale works closely with you to assess your risk of breast cancer by discussing your personal and family history. Some of these increased risks include having:

  • Breast cancer before turning 50
  • High-grade serous ovarian cancer
  • High-grade serous ovarian cancer and breast cancer
  • Relatives with cancer of the ovaries, breast, pancreas, or prostate
  • Family members with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
  • Men in your family with a history of breast cancer

You might also have higher chances of breast cancer genetic mutations if you’re of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

What can I expect from genetic breast cancer testing?

If you have a high risk of breast cancer, Dr. Canale can guide you through the genetic testing process and help you understand your results. He performs most genetic breast cancer tests through blood or saliva samples.

The most important thing to understand from your results is that having the genes linked to breast cancer don’t ensure you’ll get cancer -- only 5-10% of cancer cases are related to your genes. However, identifying your risks can help you prevent breast cancer through early detection when treatment can be the most successful.

If you have genetic risks associated with breast cancer, you should begin cancer screenings as early as 25 with an annual breast MRI. When you reach 30, Dr. Canale might recommend alternating mammograms and breast MRIs every six months.

To learn more about genetic testing to identify your breast cancer risks, call Carolina Breast Care Specialists, or schedule an appointment online today.