Advertisement

How do I know if a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation may run in my family?

David A. Fishman, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
Breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2) are normal genes carried by all men and women. When functioning properly, these genes play a role in tumor suppression. Clues suggesting that a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation may be running in a family include: early-onset breast cancer (before menopause) in two or more relatives in different generations, ovarian cancer in addition to breast cancer among relatives, bilateral breast cancer, breast and ovarian cancer in the same woman, and male relatives with breast cancer.

Most families with very strong family histories of breast and ovarian cancer have mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. However, in some high-risk families and many families with more moderate clusters of breast and ovarian cancer, such cancers are not due to BRCA1 or BRCA2, suggesting the existence of other inherited susceptibility genes yet to be identified.

Continue Learning about Ovarian Cancer

6 Tips to Keep a Consistent Medication Routine
6 Tips to Keep a Consistent Medication Routine
Many people living with cancer struggle to take medications as directed, for a variety of reasons. Use the tips in this video to help keep a consisten...
Read More
What is the survival rate for ovarian cancer?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
The survival rate for ovarian cancer depends on its stage at the time of diagnosis. Ovarian cancer i...
More Answers
What is the risk of malignancy index (RMI) for ovarian cancer?
David A. Fishman, MDDavid A. Fishman, MD
Risk of malignancy index (RMI) is a tool currently being used in women who have no symptoms of o...
More Answers
Why Does Ovarian Cancer Go Undiagnosed for so Long?
Why Does Ovarian Cancer Go Undiagnosed for so Long?

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.