Breast & Ovarian Risk Evaluation Program
Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are known to dramatically increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer in her lifetime.
More than 190,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. But only 5-10% of those breast cancers are caused by an inherited genetic mutation. The same gene can put women at a higher risk of ovarian cancer as well. Genetic counseling for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can tell a woman whether she is at increased risk for these cancers. The test does not guarantee who will or will not get breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
Those most appropriate for genetic counseling have:
- High numbers of family members with cancer diagnoses (especially breast and ovarian) throughout several generations, either maternal or paternal
- Family member diagnosed with cancer before age 50
- Family members who have been diagnosed with multiple cancers (for example, breast and ovarian)
- Male breast cancers, or clusterings of other cancers such as colon, prostate, stomach or pancreatic
While it's important for every woman to understand her individual risk, genetic testing may not be the right option for everyone.