Q: My mother had a mastectomy at age 63 and continues to do well. My sister had a mastectomy (one sentinel node positive) at age 43. My sister and I share a BrCa1 gene mutation, but it is not a standard one, and no one knows what it means. My mom doesn’t have that gene mutation. I had my first child at 34. I have no other risk factors that I know of. Do you think I should be followed with MRIs or standard digital mammography? I really appreciate your answer.
A: If you were my patient, I would consider you at high risk for developing breast cancer based on your family history.
The current recommendations by the American Cancer Society for the use of breast MRI suggest that the breast MRI should be used in any woman with a known BRCA mutation or any woman who has a 20 percent or greater lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
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