testing for young family members

hi
i have breast cancer, my mum had cervical cancer and died from a secondary tumour at 64, her sister (my aunt) had 3 different types of cancer, my ex husbands mum died at 30 from cancer.
This has greatly unnerved my daughter who at 23 would like to be checked due to the close family connections. Is this likely to happen if she goes to see her doctor, do they check things like this out or does she have to hope for the best as the years go by?
i was only diagnosed 4 weeks ago so i think she might still be a bit shocked, and i havent had surgery yet so its all new and upsetting for her.
what do i tell her to do, any ideas.
thanks for looking.
angiepops x

Hi Angiepops,

It sounds like you and your family are having an especailly rough time at the moment, no wonder your daughter is unnerved. At the time of my diagnosis (aged 47) I asked similar questions as I was concerned for my nieces (I have no children). My Mum had cervical cancer (thankfully treated successfully ~ 20 years ago) and an aunt died of breast cancer in her 80s. The oncologist was kind and thorough in his questioning but bascially, they will only look for a genetic cause if you have plural first degree relatives with early diagnoses of breast, ovarian or prostate cancers. There is no (known) link to cervical cancer, and breast cancer in elderly patients is unlikely to be genetically linked.

It seems to me there are a couple of ways to go - you could ask your oncologist about testing, and s/he will guide you through questions to determine if it is advisable, or your daughter could go and chat to her GP and explain her anxiety. Only you and she are able to decide which of those routes would be helpful.

I hope your surgery goes well and the way forward is soon apparent for you. Gentle hugs

hello revcat
i am angiepops daughter i am 23 and last week i went to the doctors for something else and told him about our history with cancer afterwards thinking hed just say your to young etc. what he actually said was that he had just had a case like this and they sent a girl to clinic or asked to reffer her or somethinbg but they replied sayin there was no need to test her, he then said we now regret that decision and said nothing more. so i thought does this mean u will test me then? he said come and see me in 2 weeks and he will check my breasts but also told me to make the oppointment before 12 so he could ring the clinic while i am with him. im not sure whys hes ringing then while im there or what will happen really. my oppointments on wednesday which seem ages away. he also asked for family history to be taken to the oppointment.

hi Katie and Angie

Katie if your paternal grandmother had breast cancer at age 30 you would be considered at a moderately increased ris and therfore entitled to early breast screening from at least age 40 but perhaps earlier than that depending on your health authority. however you wont normally get tested as currently only women from high risk families who have actually had a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer themselves can get tested on the NHS… high risk families are families with 4 cases of breast cancer under age 60 or ovarian cancer in 3 generations on the same side of the family.

its important for them to do a full assessment of your risk for breast cancer… mum hasnt said what age she was or if your pat GM had breast cancer or not but from what you have said and comparing it to the protocols it looks like you are likely to be low risk.

it not normally up to GPs whether a patient will get tested or not btw… they have alogorythms for working out the risk but its not something most GPs would be awatre of but the genetics team will be able to advise you appropraite with reagrds your personal risk.

this is the testing protocol from the institute of cancer research you might find it helpful…
http://www.icr.ac.uk/research/team\_leaders/Rahman\_Nazneen/Rahman\_Nazneen\_Protocols/Protocols/22778.pdf

good luck to you both xx

My breast cancer nurse is also the family history nurse at my clinic. When I was diagnosed (aged 65) I told her my mum had breast cancer when she was aged 84 and that I have a daughter aged 42. She said that although my daughter appeared to be very low risk she would willingly do a risk assessment for her but she would have to be referred by her GP.

She saw her GP and was referred. The next thing to arrive was a form to complete asking for details of other cancer sufferers in the family. She has now completed this and is waiting for the risk assessment.