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It Is All About Breast Cancer


The Genetics of Breast Cancer

You've probably heard that the risk of any woman developing breast cancer
is 1 in 10 by the time she is 80 years old. But for 5 to 10 percent of women
who get breast cancer, this risk is much higher (up to 85 percent over a lifetime). The risk is higher for this small group of women because they are born with an inherited change (mutation) in a cancer-causing gene that makes them more likely to develop breast cancer. As you read this information about breast cancer, please keep in mind that only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancer is hereditary.

Genes are found on our chromosomes. You received half of your chromosomes from your mother and the other half from your father. Each chromosome is composed of hundreds to thousands of genes. Genes are the instructions that make us who we are. Each gene is composed of a series of amino acids that must be linked together in a particular order to make a specific protein that has a specific function in your body.
diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Genes also tell your body which proteins to make to meet your body's needs and when to stop making proteins because you have enough. While there are many kinds of genes, we'll talk about two kinds that play a significant role in triggering cancer: genes that encourage cell growth (oncogenes) and genes that suppress or block tumor growth (tumor suppressor genes). Oncogenes kick the cell's "grow" message into high gear. When tumor suppressor genes don't do their jobs, they contribute to
cancer because they no longer act as "brakes" to turn off cell growth