Written by Lizanne van Waart
Director & Founder of Wijnland Fertility Clinic / ART Counselling
MA. (Psychology) University of Stellenbosch
Let’s talk about the most common types of cancer in the US.
The most frequently diagnosed types of cancer are breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men. In 2022, more than 30% of all new cancer diagnoses in women will be breast cancer.
Your Risk of Breast Cancer if Your Mother had Breast Cancer!
Having a mother with breast cancer increases the chance that you could also develop the disease. While most breast cancers are not hereditary, a family history of the disease does increase your risk; by how much depends on who in your family had breast cancer.
Here’s a general sense of how family history affects a woman’s risk of breast cancer: (Julie Scott, April 19, 2022).
Family History of Breast Cancer
  • One second-degree relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew) diagnosed after age 50 (Average risk)
  • One or two first-degree relatives (parent, sibling, child) or two second-degree relatives both diagnosed after age 50 (Moderate risk)
  • One or more first-degree or second-degree relatives diagnosed at 45 or younger (Strong risk)
  • One or more first- or second-degree relatives with triple-negative breast cancer aged 60 or younger (Strong risk)
  • One or more first-degree or second-degree relatives diagnosed with cancer in both breasts (Strong risk)
  • One or more first-degree or second-degree relatives diagnosed with male breast cancer (Strong risk)

Genetic Testing

With new genetic testing techniques, breast cancer genes can be identified even before the disease develops. However, such testing isn’t the only factor influencing your risk.

There are several genes associated with breast cancer. The most common of these are BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, but there are more than 70 identified gene mutations associated with breast cancer. And there is a link between breast cancer genes and the outcome of the disease.

Remember getting accurate family history can be an important tool in helping to determine your risk of developing breast cancer. Genetic testing is also a good option (if indicated).

Psychological Aspects to consider in Breast Cancer (BC) Diagnosis and Treatment:

Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer may induce psychological challenges such as anxiety, depression, anger, uncertainty about the future, hopelessness, desperateness, fear of recurrence of cancer, fear of separation from relatives, fear of pain, decrease in self-esteem and impairment of body image, amongst others.
Patients need support coping with a range of distressing emotions such as anxiety, depression, and confusion. Stress can also result in relationship strain, financial difficulties, and the stress of the physical illness itself.

At Wijnland Fertility we are part of The Oncofertility Consortium – “Exploring and expanding options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors.” website: https://oncofertility.msu.edu/

Seven steps to Prevent Cancer

  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Protect your skin from the sun
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
  • Practise safer sex and avoid risky behaviour
  • Get immunised (HPV & hepatitis vaccines)
  • Know your family’s medical history and get regular cancer screenings

Wijnland Fertility Lab update and treatment options.

Wijnland has some exciting news to share! Our 12% discount on egg freezing will be extended for the month of October. 

Egg freezing is one of the most common treatment options for fertility patients. Our laboratory also offers ovarian tissue freezing for patients who will be undergoing chemo and radiation. Both these preservation options provide the opportunity for patients to safeguard their future fertility. 

Contact the Wijnland team for your individualised and patient-centred treatment plan.