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Approximately seven percent of breast cancer cases are caused by mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.People who carry a mutation in either of these genes have a condition called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome. They have an up to 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer by age 70. In addition, mutation carriers who have already been diagnosed with cancer have a significantly increased risk of developing a second cancer in the future.

Assessing Your Risk

In order to assess your risk of carrying a BRCA1, BRCA2 or other gene mutation, your healthcare professional may ask you questions about your personal and family history. Knowing your medical history helps your healthcare professional determine whether you might be an appropriate candidate for genetic testing. Genetic testing can provide an accurate assessment of your risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

To help you determine whether you may benefit from genetic testing, take the Hereditary Cancer Quiz. This quiz can help give you the information you need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional.

Risk Factors for Hereditary Breast Cancer

Knowing your potential risk for HBOC can help you and your healthcare professional make better, more informed decisions about your health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has had a chance to develop.

You:

  • Have had breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • Have had triple negative breast cancer
  • Have ever had ovarian cancer
  • Are male and have had breast cancer at any age
  • Have had a male relative diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, prostate or pancreatic cancer

Your Family:

  • Has had someone diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
  • Has had someone diagnosed with ovarian cancer
  • Has had two breast cancers in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has had a male family member diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Has had someone diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at any age
  • Has three or more family members with HBOC-associated cancer on the same side of the family
  • Has had a previously identified BRCA1BRCA2 or other mutation in the family

Using Hereditary Cancer Testing to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Genetic testing identifies the BRCA1/2 mutation or a mutation in another gene associated with breast cancer risk, the following medical management options may help reduce your risk and may either possibly prevent or possibly delay the onset of breast cancer or detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage:

  • Increased surveillance for breast, ovarian and/or other cancers associated with the gene mutation, such as starting cancer screening at an earlier age
  • Risk-reducing medications
  • Preventive surgery, such as mastectomy or oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries)

By using the results a Hereditary Cancer test, your healthcare professional can help you move forward with the right action plan for your particular risk. Your test results can also help your family members learn and understand more about inherited cancer risk and how it may affect them.

*Assessment criteria are based on medical society guidelines.

**HBOC-associated cancers are breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic.

Any discussion of medical management options is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation.  While genetic testing and medical society guidelines provide important and useful information, all medical management decisions should be made based on consultation between each patient and his or her healthcare professional.

References

1. Claus EB, et al. The genetic attributable risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Cancer 1996;77:2318-2324.

2. Pal T, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases.  Cancer 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

3. Risch H, et al. Prevalence and penetrance of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population series of 649 women with ovarian cancer. Am J Hum Genet 2001: 68:700-710.

4. Ford D, et al. Risks of cancer in BRCA1-mutation carriers. Breast Cancer Linkage Consortium. Lancet. 1994 343:692-5. PMID: 7907678.

Approximately 10-15 percent of ovarian cancer cases are caused by mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.  Women who carry a mutation in either of these genes have a condition called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome. They have an up to 63 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer by age 70.In addition, mutation carriers who have already been diagnosed with cancer have a significantly increased risk of developing a second cancer in the future. Patients with Lynch syndrome are also at higher risk of developing ovarian, colon and endometrial cancers. Genetic testing can be used to identify people who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or have Lynch syndrome.

Assessing Your Risk

In order to assess your risk of carrying a BRCA1, BRCA2 or other gene mutation, your healthcare professional may ask you questions about your personal and family history. Knowing your medical history helps your healthcare professional determine whether you might be an appropriate candidate for genetic testing, which can provide an assessment of your risk of developing ovarian and/or breast cancer, or whether you might have Lynch syndrome.

To help you determine whether you may benefit from hereditary cancer genetic testing, take the Hereditary Cancer Quiz. This quiz can help you get the information you need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

Knowing your potential risk for HBOC can help you and your healthcare professional make better, more informed decisions about your health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has a chance to develop. Genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer should be considered if:

You:

  • Have had breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • Have ever had ovarian cancer
  • Are male and have had breast cancer at any age
  • Are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, prostate or pancreatic cancer

Your Family:

  • Has had two breast cancers in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has had someone diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at any age
  • Has had pancreatic cancer and an HBOC-associated** cancer in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has three or more family members with breast cancer on the same side of the family
  • Has had a previously identified BRCA1, BRCA2 or other gene mutation in the family

Using Hereditary Cancer Testing to Reduce Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Genetic testing confirms the presence of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation or a mutation in another gene associated with ovarian cancer risk, the following medical management options may help reduce cancer risk and may either prevent or delay the onset of cancer or detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage:

  • Increased surveillance for ovarian, breast and/or other cancers associated with the gene mtutation, such as starting cancer screening at an earlier age and using breast MRI in addition to mammography.
  • Risk-reducing medications.
  • Preventive surgery, such as mastectomy or oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries).

Using the results of genetic testing, your healthcare professional can help you move forward with the right action plan for your particular risk. Your test results can also help your family members learn and understand more about inherited cancer risk and how it may affect them.

 

*Assessment criteria are based on medical society guidelines.

**HBOC-associated cancers are breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic.

Any discussion of medical management options is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation.  While genetic testing and medical society guidelines provide important and useful information, all medical management decisions should be made based on consultation between each patient and his or her healthcare professional.

References

1. Claus EB, et al. The genetic attributable risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Cancer 1996;77:2318-2324.

2. Pal T, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases.  Cancer 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

3. Risch H, et al. Prevalence and penetrance of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population series of 649 women with ovarian cancer. Am J Hum Genet 2001: 68:700-710.

4. Easton DF, et al. Breast and ovarian cancer incidence in BRCA1- mutation carriers. Breast Cancer Linkage Consortium. Am J Hum Genet. 1995 56:265-71. PMID: 7825587.