Dr. Hofstatter on Identifying High-Risk Patients in Breast Cancer

Erin Wysong Hofstatter, MD
Published: Tuesday, Sep 20, 2016



Erin Wysong Hofstatter, MD, associate professor, co-director, Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the important factors for identifying potentially high-risk patients in breast cancer.

Getting a diagnosis at an early age is one "red flag," says Hofstatter. If a patient is diagnosed under the age of 50, a physician should consider recommending cancer genetic counseling and potentially genetic testing. Moreover, even if a healthy, unaffected patient has a first-, second-, or third-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50, genetic counseling and/or testing would be highly recommended for that patient as well.

Clustering of certain cancers within one family is another important potential indicator of high-risk disease, even if they appear to be completely unrelated to breast cancer. Thus, gathering an extended three-generation pedigree can be extremely important when it comes to diagnosing breast cancer.


Erin Wysong Hofstatter, MD, associate professor, co-director, Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the important factors for identifying potentially high-risk patients in breast cancer.

Getting a diagnosis at an early age is one "red flag," says Hofstatter. If a patient is diagnosed under the age of 50, a physician should consider recommending cancer genetic counseling and potentially genetic testing. Moreover, even if a healthy, unaffected patient has a first-, second-, or third-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50, genetic counseling and/or testing would be highly recommended for that patient as well.

Clustering of certain cancers within one family is another important potential indicator of high-risk disease, even if they appear to be completely unrelated to breast cancer. Thus, gathering an extended three-generation pedigree can be extremely important when it comes to diagnosing breast cancer.

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