Acknowledgments

This book could not have been written without the help and support of many people. I am deeply indebted to my editor, Miriam Bloom, Ph.D. for her advice and understanding. I am especially grateful to Catherine Klein, M.D. (Hereditary Cancer Clinic, VA Medical Center, and Division of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO) for critically reviewing the first draft of the manuscript and for her valuable suggestions. Several breast cancer specialists took time...

Biology of Sporadic vs Hereditary Breast Cancer

Recent studies have demonstrated that hereditary breast cancers often present different histological characteristics from those that occur sporadically. However, the biological behavior of tumors is often the same. In fact, younger women with hereditary breast cancer often do better than those whose tumors arise sporadically. Women who have two or more first degree relatives (mother, sister) with breast cancer have a greatly increased chance of developing the disease at a younger age, but the...

Introduction

Although an American woman is more likely to die of heart disease or of lung cancer, a diagnosis of breast cancer is the medical pronouncement she is most likely to fear. A woman often equates the breast with her femininity, sexuality, and psyche, and may fear possible disfigurement even more than death. This very fear may cause her to avoid simple screening procedures such as mammograms or self-examinations. She may delay seeking medical advice even after finding a lump. Consequences of this...