Dad is Responsible, too
If we think back to high school or college science courses, we will remember basic genetics: that we inherit half of our genes from each parent. Remember all that information about dominant genes and the possibility of a brown-eyed mother having a blue-eyed baby (I fit that profile)? Even with this basic knowledge, many of us, patients and providers, "forget" that a genetic mutation may just as easily be inherited from dad as from mom. When we think about our family histories of breast and ovarian cancer, we are naturally thinking about women, and we likely are thinking about our mother and her sisters or mother.
This is a report from WebMD regarding a recent study from Canada that was published in The Lancet Oncology. Here is a quote and then a link to read more:
Health care professionals sometimes overlook a family history of breast and ovarian cancer onthe father's side of the family when evaluating a patient, suggesting that some women may miss opportunities for genetic testing and screening, according to a new study.
Jeanna McCuaig, a researcher at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues used patient records to compare the number of patients referred with maternal and paternal family histories of breast or ovarian cancer.
Women with a maternal family history of cancer were five times more likely to be referred to specialists. The findings are published today in the online edition of The Lancet Oncology.
According to the authors, 5%-10% of breast and ovarian cancer cases are due to BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Women who carry these genetic mutations face a 55% to 87% increased lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 20% to 44% increased lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. Both men and women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have the same 50% risk of passing these genetic mutations on to their children.