What if I think I have the gene?
Published 11/12/2012 | 06:00
According to the Irish Cancer Society, just under 3,000 women a year in Ireland get breast cancer and around 5pc of the cases are genetic. If you think you're at risk, go to your GP who can refer you to one of eight cancer centres across the country.
If you're deemed to have a high risk for a genetic mutation, you'll be referred to the genetics clinic in Crumlin Hospital Dublin. The test is also available privately at the Mater Private Hospital.
Some women who are found to have the gene want to go ahead with surgery right away, having seen family members endure gruelling treatment. But it's not always the best option, says Malcolm Kell, consultant breast surgeon at the Mater.
"If a patient approached me saying they want bilateral surgery next week, that's a patient who needs more time and counselling and support," he says. "You can't rush into it. Surgery is the last thing they arrive at. They need to be fully informed by that point."