Breast cancer survivors
Her2+ breast cancer
Triple negative breast cancer
Women under 45
Women over 45
Special populations: African American women
Most estimates of the percentage of breast cancer patients with mutations in BRCA are based on studies in white women. These researchers found that black women diagnosed at a young age with breast were twice as likely to have a BRCA mutation than previously reported based on studies in white women with breast cancer diagnosed in the same age categories. This study shows how important it is for all black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at or before age 50 to be referred for genetic counseling and testing. (9/29/15)
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Estimating the number of black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer before age 50 who carry a BRCA mutation.
Genetic testing can provide women with breast cancer with important information that may affect their medical decisions. Genetic testing can also provide clues about the risk for cancer in relatives. This study is the largest in the United States to look at how common BRCA mutations are in black women diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 50 or younger, regardless of family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer.
National guidelines recommend that any woman diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 be referred for genetic counseling and testing.
If you are a black women diagnosed at 50 years of age or younger with invasive breast cancer, you should ask your doctor about referral for genetic counseling and testing for an inherited mutation. Genetic counseling and testing is recommended even for women with no family history of cancer.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is a panel of cancer and genetics experts that publishes guidelines for genetic testing for inherited mutations that increase cancer risk. Any person diagnosed with any of the following cancers meets NCCN Guidelines for genetic counseling and testing regardless of their ethnicity:
Additional criteria for genetic counseling and testing may apply. Visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors for more information or to consult with a genetic counselor.
These guidelines are up-to-date as of 10/04/19
Oncology Nursing News
There has been very little research in the past that examined how many black women with breast cancer have BRCA mutations. Most previous studies have focused on BRCA testing in non-Hispanic white women. These studies estimated that about 5% of all breast cancer patients have a BRCA mutation. Only three prior studies have looked at population-based BRCA testing in black women in the United States, and those studies did not look for all known mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. This population-based study included black women diagnosed with breast cancer at 50 years of age and under, regardless of their family history of cancer. All women were recruited to the study through the Florida Cancer Registry. All women who consented to the study received full gene sequencing and comprehensive rearrangement testing of the BRCA genes at no cost.
What the prevalence of BRCA mutations was in black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at a younger age.
396 black women who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at 50 years or younger and completed BRCA testing following study consent.
Because the study was conducted with only young black women in Florida and race was self-reported, this study may not be able to be generalized to young black women in other states. Because family history is not collected by the Florida cancer registry, we have no way to know if family history influenced participation.
Because of the higher frequency of BRCA mutations reported in this and other studies, BRCA testing for young black women diagnosed at a young age with invasive breast cancer is appropriate. As this study found that about 40% of women with a known BRCA mutation did not have a close family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, a personal history of breast cancer diagnosed at a young age regardless of family history is an indicator for BRCA testing in young black women.