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Breast cancer case study. Enter resource. level 9 – Degree. Introduction to this resource This case study follows the progress of a patient and her family in the genetic clinic.

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Breast cancer case study

Enter resource

level 9 – Degree


Introduction to this resource

This case studyfollows the progress of a patient and her family in the genetic clinic.

Different clinical areas gather family history information using different methods. Before progressing withthiscase study you may want to refresh your knowledge of family history taking in the relevant section of the learning resource “Cancer Genetics”, which is available for download from the ScotGEN Website.

Next


The red boxes are "action boxes", and they provide suggested activities, such a discussions, reflection points and more practical activities.

The light blue boxes are "content boxes", read them carefully because all the key information is there.

The green boxes are "answer boxes", and they provide the answer to the previous activity.

The orange boxes are “practice boxes", they suggest some practical activities aimed to deepen your knowledge about the topic.

Click for suggested learning outcomes


Learning outcomes

  • Examine the role of genes in the development of breast cancer

  • Examine the relationship between the underlying basis and psychosocial impact of familial predisposition to breast cancer

  • Provide a rationale for the role of the genetic services in providing risk assessment, diagnosis, management options & genetic testing in the Scottish context

Next


Please read:

This case study has be developed to enable you to use your current scientific knowledge on cancer genetics

and use the skills you have gained in taking a family history and drawing a family tree.

If you have background knowledge in these areas this case study can stand alone.

Next


Breast cancer affects around 1 in 10 British women at some time in their lives.

Most cases of breast cancer arise by chance. However, a few women are more likely to develop breast cancer because of their genetic make up.

In this case study you will learn about how breast cancer can run in families, and what can be done to help women who have a family history of breast cancer.

Start

Index


Index time in their lives.

  • Breast Cancer case study – Part I

  • Confirmation of cancer

  • Risk assessment

  • Clinic appointment

  • Mammography

  • Note for educators

  • Family history – Part II

  • Family history– Part III

  • Genetic testing – Part I

  • Genetic testing – Part II

Start


Breast Cancer case time in their lives.study – Part I

Mollie Jenkins a 45-year-old lady has been admitted to the surgical ward for a left breast lumpectomy and removal of axillary glands.

She discovered a lump in her breast about a month ago and was referred to the breast clinic. Following a mammogram, ultra-sound and fine needle biopsy she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mollie is married with 2 teenage daughters aged 13 and 17 years and a son aged 9 years. Mollie works part-time as a primary school secretary. During the afternoon Mollie’s 42-year-old sister Wendy Adams visited her. Wendy is very concerned that Mollie is now the third person in their family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Wendy therefore spoke to the Staff Nurse on duty to ask if she should be concerned about her own risk of developing breast cancer. The Staff Nurse recommended that she makes an appointment with her GP to discuss her family history. Her GP decided to refer Wendy to the genetic clinic.

The genetic service sent Wendy a family history form to complete

before a clinic appointment was activated

Next


When the completed family history form is returned to the genetic service the family tree is drawn.

Practice point

Some Cancer Genetic services ask the person to bring the completed form to the clinic appointment, others draw a family tree at the appointment.

Next


  • Action box genetic service the family tree is drawn.

  • (Prior knowledge of drawing a family tree is required for this activity)

  • Different genetic clinics use different methods to gather family history information. The process of drawing a family tree is the same however the information is gathered. See section 2 for more information.

  • Open the completed family history form from Wendy Adam

  • Now draw the family tree (pedigree) from the form. It is important you do this to complete the case study

  • You may need a reminder of pedigree symbolsand relationship lines

  • This activity should take about half an hour.

Click for answer


Answer box genetic service the family tree is drawn.

  • Below you will find a computer drawn family tree from Wendy’s completed family history form.

  • Open the correct drawing document to see what your family tree should look like.

  • Compare the correct drawing document with the family tree you have drawn yourself and correct any errors you have made. Keep this family tree for use in later activities.

  • Although your family tree will be hand drawn, and you may have a different key to represent the different types of cancers, the structure of the family tree should look the same.

Next


Confirmation of cancer genetic service the family tree is drawn.

It is good practice in a genetic department to confirm the primary diagnosis of cancer from clinical records for relevant affected relatives.

Click for next activity


Action box genetic service the family tree is drawn.

Why should we confirm cancers?

What sources can be used to confirm a diagnosis of cancer?

Click for answers


Answer box genetic service the family tree is drawn.

Note:consent

If a person with cancer is alive and their cancer is required to be confirmed, a signed consent form must be sent to cancer registry with the request.

Click here to see one sample form. (Each service will have their own consent forms)

  • Why should we confirm cancers?

  • Some people share the wrong information with their family.

  • Confirm the aetiology of specific cancers.

  • Confirm age at diagnosis.

Sources used to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

Hospital notes or electronic file, GP notes, cancer registry, births, marriages & deaths and occasionally from patient held notes or letters.

You could discuss as a group, any difficulties you may experience with getting information to confirm cancers.

Next


Optional activity genetic service the family tree is drawn.

  • Examine the specimen documents provided

  • completed consent form from Mollie Jenkins, Polly Briggs and Jane Brown.

  • death certificate

  • letter from hospital notes (Jane Brown)

  • cancer registration form (Mollie Jenkins and Polly Briggs)

  • It is a common occurrence that the referred individual will be asked to provide

  • death certificates where possible.

  • Using the Family history form update the family history with the new information.

Next


Cancer was confirmed in Mollie Jenkins (breast cancer at age 45), Polly Briggs (breast cancer at age 70) and Beryl Smith (breast cancer at age 70). However, Jane Brown’s ovarian cancer was not confirmed. It was noted that she had abnormal cervical cytology (no cancer) at age 29.

Action box

Can you add this extra information to your previous hand drawn pedigree?

Click here to see updated pedigree

Click for next activity


Risk assessment 45), Polly Briggs (breast cancer at age 70) and Beryl Smith (breast cancer at age 70). However, Jane Brown’s ovarian cancer was not confirmed. It was noted that she had abnormal cervical cytology (no cancer) at age 29.

When the pedigree has been drawn and the cancers confirmed an assessment of risk is undertaken. This family history assessment is performed using appropriate evidence based guidelines.

Click for next activity


Practice point 45), Polly Briggs (breast cancer at age 70) and Beryl Smith (breast cancer at age 70). However, Jane Brown’s ovarian cancer was not confirmed. It was noted that she had abnormal cervical cytology (no cancer) at age 29.

Genetic counsellors use evidence based guidelines to estimate risk and recommend management for patients with familiar breast cancer.

There are local variations in the guidelines.

In Scotland, agreed guidelines were the subject of a recent health department letter (HDL). They can be viewed here.

In England and Wales the NICE guidelines are used.

Action box

  • Access guidelines

  • Read and understand these applied in cancer genetics practice

Click for next activity


Clinic appointment 45), Polly Briggs (breast cancer at age 70) and Beryl Smith (breast cancer at age 70). However, Jane Brown’s ovarian cancer was not confirmed. It was noted that she had abnormal cervical cytology (no cancer) at age 29.

Mollie and her sister Wendy attend the genetic clinic together.

The genetic counsellor explains the causes of breast cancer.

Click for next activity


Action box 45), Polly Briggs (breast cancer at age 70) and Beryl Smith (breast cancer at age 70). However, Jane Brown’s ovarian cancer was not confirmed. It was noted that she had abnormal cervical cytology (no cancer) at age 29.

Mutations in one or more genes in a cell can cause cancer. A person can inherit a mutation (gene change) from his/her parents or acquire it during his/her lifetime. A somatic (acquired) mutation can be caused by environmental factors, such a cigarette smoke, radiation, alcohol.

Click for animation


Action box 45), Polly Briggs (breast cancer at age 70) and Beryl Smith (breast cancer at age 70). However, Jane Brown’s ovarian cancer was not confirmed. It was noted that she had abnormal cervical cytology (no cancer) at age 29.

Action box

Mutations in one or more genes in a cell can cause cancer. A person can inherit a mutation (gene change) from his/her parents or acquire it during his/her lifetime. A somatic (acquired) mutation can be caused by environmental factors, such a cigarette smoke, radiation, alcohol.

Mutations in one or more genes in a cell can cause cancer. A person can inherit a mutation from his/her parents or acquire it during his/her lifetime. A somatic (acquired) mutation can be caused by environmental factors, such a cigarette smoke, radiations, alcohol.

Click for animation

Sporadic breast cancer

No mutation inherited at birth

Radiation

Dietary and hormonal factors

Other unknown factors

Breast cancer

Familial breast cancer

Mutation inherited at birth

Click for next activity


The counsellor explains that in Mollie’s case the cancer is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a moderate risk of developing breast cancer.

Moderate risk means that Wendy has at least twice the population risk of developing breast cancer.

Her daughter is currently at population risk whilst Wendy remains unaffected by breast or ovarian cancer.

Action box

  • Read these articles:

  • Types of genes involved in cancer

  • Tumour suppressor genes: guardians of our cells

  • Cancer and genes

Next


Mammography is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

Mammography is the key screening strategy in the moderate risk group.

The evidence for its use is shown in the NICE guideline document.

Action box

Click here for more information about mammography.

Next


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

With the family history you have constructed, use your local breast cancer genetics guidelines to determine what surveillance and screening Mollie’ daughters will be offered and from what age.

Click for answer


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

With the family history you have constructed, use your local breast cancer genetics guidelines to determine what surveillance and screening Mollie’ daughters will be offered and from what age.

Answer box

According to both the Scottish and NICE guidelines, Wendy should be offered annual mammography from her present age until 50.

Current guidelines would recommend that Molly’s daughters should start breast screening at 40.

Next


Discussion box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • Open this picture of a normal mammogram

  • Reflect on these questions:

  • What is a mammogram?

  • What does it do?

  • What does it involve?

More information is available in this article: “Mammograms in breast screening”

Next


Optional activity is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • Read the following two articles:

  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

  • Breast and ovarian cancer risk

Next


Note for educators is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

First part of the learning object finishes here.

The following part can be used to follow part one for a more in depth exercise.

Next


Family History Part 2 is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

(most relevant to genetic counsellors)

A few months after Wendy attends the genetic clinic, her paternal cousin

Freda aged 36 years (Harold Briggs’ daughter) starts to get anxious about all the cancers in the family. Freda asks her GP to refer her to the genetic clinic

for advice about breast screening.

Look at the latest version of the family history.

Next


  • Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • There are elements of personal history that can be used in assessment of breast cancer risk: body mass index, menarche, menopause, parity, breast feeding, COCP and HRT, history of benign breast biopsy.

  • Read this article about breast cancer risk factors.

Next


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • What is Freda’s risk of developing breast cancer?

  • Remember to refer to the Scottish guidelines.

Click for answer


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • What is Freda’s risk of developing breast cancer?

  • Remember to refer to the Scottish guidelines.

Answer box

Freda is considered to be at population risk of developing breast cancer based on the information she provides and following confirmation of the cancers in her family.

Next


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • Write a letter to Freda and her GP outlining her family history and including the following issues:

  • Background rate of breast cancer in population

  • Age profile

  • Freda’s risk assessment

  • National breast screening

  • Lifestyle advice

  • Breast awareness

Click here to see an example of a letter to Freda

Click here to see an example of a letter to the GP

Next


Family History Part 3 is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

(most relevant to genetic counsellors)

Wendy’s maternal cousin Myra is referred for a genetic clinic appointment

as her sister Winifred has recently been diagnosed with breast and ovarian

cancer at the age of 35.

Click for next activity


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • What is the family risk now?

  • Remember to refer to the Scottish guidelines.

Click for answer


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • What is the family risk now?

  • Remember to refer to the Scottish guidelines.

Answer box

  • The new family history information changes Wendy’s risk to high based on Scottish and NICE guidelines.

Next


Genetic testing – Part I is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

The genetic counsellor tells Wendy that genetic testing would now be available for her family. The counsellor explains that with Mollie’s informed consent her sample can be tested and that the result could have implications for other relatives.

Next


Practice point is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

It is standard practice to request a DNA sample from an affected relative.

The testing and interpretation of results is complex and can take several months.

Click here for more information about genetic testing.

Next


Mollie is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a consents to give a sample for testing of the BRCA1 and 2 genes. The test shows she has a mutation (also may be described as a gene change) in the BRCA2 gene.

Click here to see Mollie’s test result

Next


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • What is Wendy’s risk of breast cancer now?

  • Is she at risk of any other type of cancer?

Click for answer


Answer box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

Working copy of BRCA gene

Mum

Dad

Faulty copy of BRCA gene

Children

  • Wendy has a 50% or 1:2 chance of inheriting the faulty gene.

  • BRCA1 risk of Breast cancer ~80%; Ovarian cancer ~65%

  • BRCA2 risk of Breast cancer ~88% and Ovarian ~37%

  • Ref: Evans DG et al. (2008). Penetrance estimates for BRCA1 and BRCA2 based on genetic testing in a Clinical cancer Genetics Service setting: risk of breast/ovarian cancer quoted should reflect the cancer burden in the family. BMC Cancer 8:155 [Electronic version]

Next


Answer box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

Working copy of BRCA gene

Mum

Dad

Faulty copy of BRCA gene

Children

  • Women who inherit a faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will have a very high chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

  • Men who inherit a faulty gene have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer and can pass the gene on to their children.

  • Men with BRCA2 gene changes have an increased risk of developing breast cancer themselves.

Next


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • Examine the psychological impact that the knowledge of being at a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer may have on Wendy.

  • Psychosocial aspects of risk appraisal

  • Breast cancer risk perception: what do we know and understand?

  • Illness perceptions and distress in women at increased risk of breast cancer

Click for next activity


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

  • Read about the role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the development of breast and ovarian cancer.

  • Breast and ovarian cancer genetics

  • Handbook of genetic counseling/hereditary breast cancer

Next


Genetic testing – Part II is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

Wendy is offered a blood test to see if she has inherited the gene change. She leaves the clinic to think about it and decides to take the test. She returns to have a blood sample taken a month later.

Click for next activity


Action box is unlikely to be caused by mutations in the high risk genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, but that Wendy does have a

Click below to view Wendy’s result.

Click here to see Wendy’s results

Next


Wendy is very pleased that she and her children are now at population risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Neither she nor they need to consider prophylactic surgery or have additional screening outwith the National Breast Screening Programme (NBSP).

Click for next activity


Action box population risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Neither she nor they need to consider prophylactic surgery or have additional screening options for educator- discussion

What is the risk to her children now?

What if Wendy’s test had shown a mutation?

Click for answers


Answer box population risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Neither she nor they need to consider prophylactic surgery or have additional screening

  • What is the risk to her children now?

  • Their risk is similar to that of the general population.

  • What if test result was positive?

  • Wendy would be at a very high risk of breast and ovarian cancer

  • 1:2 (50%) risk of passing the faulty gene to her children.

  • Wendy would have additional options of MRI or prophylactic mastectomy.

  • Prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy.

Next


Optional activity population risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Neither she nor they need to consider prophylactic surgery or have additional screening

  • OPERA (Online Personal Education and Risk Assessment) is a Macmillan’s resource based on Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to the NHS on assessing a woman’s risk of having familial or hereditary breast cancer.

  • Some women attending the genetic clinic may have used this resource, so it may be useful for you to try it.

Next


Congratulations! population risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Neither she nor they need to consider prophylactic surgery or have additional screening

You completed this case study.

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