Patients with a strong family history are certainly at risk for carrying a genetic mutation that significantly increases one's risk of developing breast cancer. Genetic testing positive for a mutation equates to an elevated risk of the future development of breast cancer (among other cancers). On the other hand, if this same person had negative genetic testing they would still be at risk but perhaps not quite as high. Having a strong family history of breast cancer even when genetic testing is negative is still considered significant and is extremely important for patients to recognize.
There are many ways to assess one’s risk of developing breast cancer, all of which begin with a thorough history and physical examination. A ‘high risk’ consultation at Comprehensive Breast Care begins with this initial assessment that also includes the use of specific risk calculations using a number of different risk models. Many risk models can be used to determine the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer as well as one’s risk of carrying certain genes that predispose the development of breast and other cancers.