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In women with a BRCA mutation who have never had a diagnosis of cancer, the lifetime risk for ovarian cancer is high. Experts don't agree on the exact risk but estimates range from 10% - 60% lifetime risk for depending on the mutation and other factors. This compares with a lifetime risk of less than 2% in women who do not have a cancer-causing mutation.
Inherited mutations in BRIP1, RAD51c, and RAD51d also increase ovarian cancer risk, but not to the same extent as mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Risk assessment for cancer is not an exact science. Different studies on ovarian cancer risk in different populations have revealed different risk estimates. A study of women with one of the
BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations common in Jewish populations indicated a lifetime ovarian cancer risk of 54% in women with BRCA1 mutations and 23% in women with BRCA2 mutations. A different study of multiple families with BRCA mutations (not specifically Jewish families) found a comparatively lower risk: 39% for BRCA1 carriers, compared to 11% of BRCA2 carriers by age 70. Another study combined multiple studies to determine an average risk for ovarian cancer. This "meta-analysis" determined the average lifetime risk to be 55% in BRCA 1 mutation carriers and 31% in BRCA 2 mutation carriers.
All the studies show the risk for ovarian cancer in
BRCA carriers begins after age 30, and most of the risk occurs after age 40 for BRCA1 mutation carriers and age 50 for BRCA2 mutation carriers.
If you are a previvor, understanding your risks and making medical decisions can be confusing and you may want additional guidance or support. FORCE's Peer Navigation Program provides expert reviewed resources and 1:1 personalized peer support by specially trained volunteers who have experienced the very challenges you face.