Breast cancer susceptibility gene: are you at risk? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Breast cancer susceptibility gene: are you at risk?

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Breast cancer susceptibility gene mutations – such as the one that led actress Angelina Jolie to have a double mastectomy – count for about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers in the U.S., according to

People most at risk include those of Eastern European or Jewish descent; those with a mother, daughter or sister with breast cancer at a young age; and individuals with a family member has had ovarian cancer at any age.

Doctors don't say you should head to the operating room if you have those risk factors. The next step is to go for genetic counseling to find out whether testing is a good idea.

"The genetic counselor spends about an hour, to an hour and a half with the family," Dr. Raymond Rudolph of Memorial University Medical Center's Anderson Cancer Institute said, "and elucidates the family history back four or five generations, and actually has advanced calculations that can tell who needs to be tested at that point."

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