What Makes Ashkenazi Jews More Susceptible to Breast Cancer?
The American Cancer Society reports that “some types of cancer run in certain families, but most cancers are not clearly linked to the genes we inherit from our parents.” And all cancers begin with a gene mutating, which results in abnormal cell growth that proliferates and becomes cancer.
Breast cancer is one of those cancers with a clearly defined genetic component. The most widely known genetic factor that can lead to breast cancer is a mutation on the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, which can also cause ovarian cancer. Everyone has these genes, but only some people have a mutation that can predispose them to certain types of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “about 1 in every 500 women in the United States has a mutation in either her BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. If either your mother or your father has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, you have a 50 percent chance of having the same gene mutation.”
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Written by Elaine K. Howley for US News