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Links Between Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

About 10-15% of cancers are hereditary, depending on the type of cancer. Signs of a hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome may include but are not limited to:

  • Breast cancer at age 45 or younger
  • Breast cancer in both breasts in a woman at any age
  • Breast and ovarian cancer in the same woman
  • Two or more family members with ovarian cancer and/or breast cancer, especially if the breast cancer was diagnosed at or before age 50
  • At least one family member with breast cancer and one with ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer in men
  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and ovarian cancer at any age or breast cancer before age 60
  • A number of relatives on the same side of the family with breast or ovarian cancer and one of these cancers:
    • Prostate cancer
    • Melanoma
    • Pancreatic cancer

Finding a Genetics Expert

It is important to seek the opinion of a specialist in cancer genetics if you believe the cancer in your family may be hereditary. For information on finding an expert in cancer genetics, see the “Finding Specialists” section of our website.


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Disclaimer: Health links are made available for educational purposes only. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice. All health information should be discussed with your health care provider. Please read our full disclaimer for more information.

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