Utah Cancer Control Program A Unified Cancer Prevention Approach

What is Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (BRCA1/2)?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) are human genes that produce proteins which help repair damaged DNA. Some people experience inherited mutations in the BRCA1/2 genes which can increase their risk of breast and ovarian cancers.


Who is at risk?

One form of action an individual can take is to assess their family history. You may want to speak with a genetic counselor about genetic testing for BRCA1/2 if you have any of the following in your family:

  • Breast cancer diagnosed before age 50 years.
  • Cancer in both breasts in the same woman.
  • Both breast and ovarian cancers in either the same woman or the same family.
  • Multiple breast cancers.
  • Two or more primary types of BRCA1- or BRCA2-related cancers in a single family member.
  • Cases of male breast cancer.
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
  • A known BRCA1/2 mutation.(1)

Men can also be at increased risk for certain cancers if they are carriers of the BRCA1/2 mutation, including: prostate, male breast, pancreas, and melanoma.

Men and women can BOTH carry this mutation and can potentially pass it on to their offspring.


BRCA1/2 Resources

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1) Centers for Disease Control