Other Cancer Risks
Other cancers have been linked to hereditary breast or ovarian cancer. Some cancers are associated with BRCA mutations; others are associated with other cancer syndromes. As more research is done on hereditary cancer syndromes, the research community learns more about risks for less common cancers than breast or ovarian cancer. A cancer genetics expert will know the most up-to-date risk information and advise you of your options for risk management.
Colorectal cancer refers to cancer affecting the large intestines or the rectum. In the general population the average lifetime risk for colorectal cancer is about 6%. Early studies on BRCA showed a small increase in colon cancer risk but more recent studies showed no elevation of colorectal cancer risk. Lynch Syndrome, also known as Hereditary Nonpolyposis-Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC), a hereditary syndrome linked to uterine and ovarian cancer, elevates the risk for colorectal cancer. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is a hereditary syndrome linked with young onset colorectal cancer. Other gene mutations have been found to be associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer. If colorectal cancer runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine risk and management options.
Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. In the general population the average lifetime risk for melanoma is about 2%. Studies have shown a slightly increased risk for melanoma in carriers of BRCA2 mutations. Other gene mutations have been associated with an increased risk for melanoma. FORCE and Moffitt Cancer Center collaborated on a survey (unpublished) which suggested a correlation between BRCA 1 mutations and melanoma. More research is needed to confirm this link.
If melanoma runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine risk and management options.
Pancreatic cancer is very rare in the general population. The average person has less than a 1% lifetime risk for this disease. Although studies on carriers of both BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have indicated an elevated lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer, the risk is still small. Other hereditary syndromes have been linked with an increased risk for pancreatic cancer including Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and HNPCC.
There is no accurate way to screen for pancreatic cancer; 75 percent of diagnoses are advanced. Researchers are trying to develop a blood test that can accurately screen for pancreatic cancer, and are exploring whether endoscopic ultrasound—passing a tiny scope with an ultrasound probe down the esophagus to the stomach— can more effectively find abnormalities, and detect early-stage cancer in people at high risk. Visit our research study page for links to clinical trials for early detection of pancreatic cancer.
If pancreatic cancer runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine risk and management options.
In the general population, prostate cancer is common. Men have about a 14% risk for developing the disease by age 80. Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been linked with an increased risk for prostate cancer, particularly younger onset cancer diagnosed before age 65. The risk for prostate cancer is higher in BRCA2 mutation carriers than BRCA1 mutation carriers. BRCA2-related prostate cancer can be more aggressive and have a poorer prognosis than sporadic prostate cancer.
Other genes are believed to increase the risk for hereditary prostate cancer. If prostate cancer runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine risk and management options.
The IMPACT study is a prostate surveillance research study for men with a BRCA mutation.
In certain families, carriers of a BRCA2 mutation may have a slightly increased lifetime risk for stomach cancers, especially in families with a history of colon cancer. Other gene mutations have been found to be associated with an increased risk for stomach cancer. If stomach cancer runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine risk and management options.
Uterine cancer (also called “endometrial cancer”) risk is increased in women who carry one of the genes that causes HNPCC, a hereditary syndrome which also causes an increased risk for colon cancer. One study showed the lifetime risk for uterine cancer in this group can be as high as 60%. Women with a BRCA mutation have a lower risk for uterine cancer than women with an HNPCC mutation and may have similar risk as women in the general population. One study reported a small increased risk for uterine cancer among BRCA1 carriers, while another study reported no increased risk for uterine cancer in BRCA1 carriers. A small study on women with a very rare type of uterine cancer called “uterine serous papillary carcinoma” found an association with carriers of a BRCA1 mutation.
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