How a Blood Test Can Determine your Risk for Breast Cancer

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and Dr. Grunander from Ogden Clinic joined us to discuss family history when it comes to breast cancer. 
He explained the average women should begin breast cancer screening at age 40 but an individual who has a family history of breast cancer may need screening sooner. 
If you are unsure if breast cancer runs in your family, you can get a panel test. This blood test evaluates for 25 known gene mutations that can increase ones personal risk for cancer.  BRCA 1 and 2 are two of these 25 mutations that are particularly known for breast cancer.
Dr. Grunander told us that BRCA is a gene that carries breast, ovarian and prostate cancer in families. He mentioned that Angelina Joie has this gene and brought it into the spotlight a few years back. Women with breast cancer themselves that meets the criteria or a family history of cancer that meets the criteria should be tested. Red flags are breast cancer in a women younger than 45, two family members if one of them was premenopausal or three family members at any age. One family member with ovarian cancer at any age also meets criteria.
If someone receives a positive BRCA result, what are the next steps?
  • Breast exam every 6-12 months starting at 25 years old
  • Breast screening
  • Age 25-29 annual breast MRI
  • Age >30 annual mammogram and breast MRI
People with a BRCA gene carry up to an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 20 – 40% risk of ovarian cancer. These patients need increased surveillance and eventually will need prophylactic surgery to reduce those risks.
Ogden Clinic has specialists that are knowledgeable in these genetic conditions. Dr. Grunander said they are testing patients and treating these hereditary syndromes. 
If you have questions or want to learn more, visit
This story includes sponsored content. 

Dr. Grunander

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