High Risk for Breast Cancer?

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.

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at drbrent@care2.com.

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Fiona T.
Fi T.2 years ago

We've got to take good care of ourselves

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson2 years ago


Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Julie W.
Jules W.3 years ago

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, seven hers ago.
Because of early detection and medical advances, she is a survivor who's life was saved. Thanks for your post of such importance...

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago

Thanks for the artcile.

J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

Good guidance.

Arild Warud
Arild Warud3 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thanks for this info.

May Howie
may Howie4 years ago

I had my left breast removed 4yrs ago because of cancer,I was 53 then,I have 1 yr left of hormone tablets to take,I live in hope that i get the "all clear" next year,but i do class myself as a survivor,and very fortunate to still be here with my family