A woman at the center of a family tree showing her elders and other family members looks up smiling slightly but also looking a little sad

Community Shares: Advanced Breast Cancer and Family History

If you have ever wondered about the role that genetics play in breast cancer, you are not alone. Most studies point to the fact that breast cancers are not caused by genetic factors. Granted, women who inherit a mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at a higher risk of developing breast cancers, including advanced breast cancer.

To hear more about breast cancer and how it has affected your families, we reached out on the AdvancedBreastCancer.net Facebook page and asked: “Has anyone else in your family been diagnosed with breast cancer?

We had responses from 40 members of the community, and this is what you said.

First family member diagnosed

According to statistics, this should be the most common answer, and it was. Of those who responded, 16 out of 40 shared that they were the only ones in their family to receive a breast cancer diagnosis.

  • “No, just me at age 50 with stage 2, and then again age 55 with stage 4. Really hope I am just the outlier.”
  • “No. As far as I know, I was the first.”
  • “Nope, I was the first at age 34 so no screening was done.”
  • “Nope, was the first at 39. Both breast and lobular at that. I am definitely unique.”

Maternal or paternal aunt has a history of breast cancer

The second most common answer was aunts. Many members of the community shared that aunts, on both the maternal and paternal side, who have or had breast cancer.

  • “My mom’s sister passed away from MBC and I have two more aunts that had early-stage breast cancer.”
  • “Two maternal aunts succumbed to MBC.”
  • “My dad's older sister was diagnosed in her 70's.”
  • “An aunt on my dad’s side of the family.”
  • “4 aunts out of 7, all my father’s sisters. But no one with metastatic breast cancer.”

My mom had breast cancer

Many in the community also shared that your mothers had breast cancer, and many survived to become cancer-free. Studies have pointed to a lack of connection between family history and advanced breast cancer, and yet, the responses from the community tell us otherwise. We can imagine how difficult it is to not see a correlation between your mother having breast cancer and your testing positive as well.

  • “My mother, at age 71 with stage 2 IDC with 2 positive nodes. ER+, PR+, Her2-. She is still living with no recurrence or metastasis at age 90.”
  • “Yep, mom in 2014. She is cancer-free now.”
  • “Yes, my mother! She was 10 years older than I was when diagnosed. My mother was diagnosed at 49 (stage IV), and me at 39 (stage 3).”
  • “My sister has been fighting it for 3 years.”

My sister had breast cancer

A few of you shared that your sisters also have a breast-cancer diagnosis. It is rare, but clearly not impossible for breast cancer to affect several members of the same immediate family.

  • “Yes. My sister has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.”
  • “Myself and my 2 sisters. I had BRCA testing done and it came back negative.”
  • “My sister has been fighting it for 3 years.”

We appreciate everyone who took the time to be a part of this story. Thank you for your shares.

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