Groups at Higher Risk for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

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You may have a higher risk for hereditary breast cancer if breast cancer or a BRCA gene mutation runs in your family.

Hereditary breast cancer means that breast cancer runs in your family, and could be caused by an inherited change in your genes. About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary.

You may have a higher risk for hereditary breast cancer if—

  • Breast cancer runs in your family; and/or
  • A BRCA gene mutation runs in your family.

Most hereditary breast cancers are caused by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. However, even if a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation does not run in the family, a strong family health history of breast cancer makes it more likely that a person will get breast cancer, possibly due to mutations in other genes. Mutations in several other genes also have been linked to breast and ovarian cancers.

The first step in assessing your risk is learning your family history and sharing this information with your health care provider to learn if genetic counseling and testing are right for you.