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Diseases » Breast Cancer » Inheritance

Inheritance and Genetics of Breast Cancer

Racial Patterns for Breast Cancer:

Racial Information for Breast Cancer: Native Hawaiians have the highest breast cancer death rate for any racial/ethnic group in the U.S.: 37.2 per 100,000. Scientists are currently researching possible explanations for this trend. Chinese American and Japanese American women have higher rates than their counterparts in China and Japan. At first it was believed a higher fat Western diet could explain the difference, but this has not been proven. (Source: excerpt from Asian & Pacific Islander Women's Health: NWHIC)

Racial Details for Breast Cancer: Also, breast cancer occurs more often in white women than African American or Asian women. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Breast Cancer: NCI)

Breast Cancer: Genetics Information

Genetics of Breast Cancer: In 1994, two breast cancer susceptibility genes were identified: BRCA1 on chromosome 17 and BRCA2 on chromosome 13. When an individual carries a mutation in either BRCA1 or BRCA2, they are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer at some point in their lives. Until recently, it was not clear what the function of these genes was, until studies on a related protein in yeast revealed their normal role: they participate in repairing radiation-induced breaks in double-stranded DNA. It is though that mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 might disable this mechanism, leading to more errors in DNA replication and ultimately to cancerous growth. (Source: Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology)

About inheritance and genetics:

Inheritance of Breast Cancer refers to whether the condition is inherited from your parents or "runs" in families. The level of inheritance of a condition depends on how important genetics are to the disease. Strongly genetic diseases are usually inherited, partially genetic diseases are sometimes inherited, and non-genetic diseases are not inherited. For general information, see Introduction to Genetics.


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