Hereditary Breast Cancer and BRCA Genes
Info provided By: Harold Clinic Pharmacy & CDC
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
About 5% to 10% of breast and 10% to 15% of ovarian cancers are hereditary. Hereditary cancer means cancer runs in your family, and could be caused by a change in certain genes that you inherited from your mother or father.
Genes act as instructions and contain information to build and maintain cells in the body. Humans inherit one set of genes from their mother and one set of genes from their father.
Genes are made up of DNA. DNA tells the body what traits will be passed on from parents to children, such as blood type, hair color, eye color, and risks of getting certain diseases.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes that are important to fighting cancer. They are tumor suppressor genes. When they work normally, these genes help keep breast, ovarian, and other types of cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or in an uncontrolled way.
Sometimes a change or mutation occurs in the BRCA genes that prevent them from working normally. This raises a person’s risk for breast, ovarian and other cancers. Learn more about BRCA gene mutations.
Groups at Higher Risk for BRCA Gene Mutations
Some people have a higher risk for a BRCA gene mutation than others.
Some people have a higher risk for a BRCA gene mutation than others. Certain family history patterns indicate a higher risk for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
You may be at increased risk for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation if your family history includes—
- Several relatives with breast cancer.
- Any relatives with ovarian cancer.
- Relatives who got breast cancer before age 50.
- A relative with cancer in both breasts.
- A relative who had both breast and ovarian cancers.
- A male relative with breast cancer.
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Central or Eastern European) and any relative with breast or ovarian cancer.
- A relative with a known BRCA gene mutation.
You may have a higher risk for a mutation if you have had—
- Breast cancer before age 50.
- Triple-negative breast cancer.
- Male breast cancer.
- Breast cancer more than once.
- Ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal (lining of the abdomen) cancer at any age.
- Both breast and ovarian cancers.
- Breast cancer or ovarian cancer at any age, and you are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Central or Eastern European).
- Breast cancer and you have a family member with breast or ovarian cancer.