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What is the connection between breast cancer and ovarian cancer?

Sharyn N. Lewin, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
We can link only 10 to 13 percent of ovarian cancers to hereditary causes. Talking with your doctor is especially important for women with a strong family history (mother, daughter or sister) of premenopausal breast cancer or ovarian cancer (Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome). These women may have a genetic abnormality that greatly increases their risk for either disease.
Approximately 1 out of every 500 people has a mutation (or abnormality) in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Both men and women can carry these mutations and have a 50 percent chance of passing the mutation on to each of their children. Those women who have mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are highest amongst those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (Eastern and Central Europe) and have a 10 to 60 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer, as much as 45 times the risk of the general population.
Genetic testing can determine whether a woman is at risk of developing ovarian cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.