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BRCA & HBOC
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Ovarian & Related Cancer

Learn about the specific risks for cancers associated with HBOC.

Primary peritoneal and fallopian tube cancer

The “peritoneum” is a layer of cells lining the inside of the abdomen. These cells are similar to the cells lining the ovaries. Cancer of this lining is called “primary peritoneal cancer” (PPC). Primary peritoneal cancer is treated in a similar manner as stage III ovarian cancer. Carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations or one of the genes associated with Lynch syndrome are at higher risk for primary peritoneal cancer than women in the general population. The risk for primary peritoneal cancer is low in mutation carriers: one study estimated the lifetime risk in BRCA carriers to be 1.3%, while another study found the risk to be 3.5%.

The fallopian tubes are the passages that carry a woman's eggs from her ovaries to her uterus. In the general population, fallopian tube cancer is very rare. Carriers of BRCA mutations or one of the genes that cause Lynch syndrome have a higher risk for fallopian tube cancer than women in the general population. One study estimated the lifetime risk to be less than 1% in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers however a recent study on 122 BRCA positive women undergoing risk-reducing oophorectomy found that about 6% of these women had cancer at the time of risk-reducing surgery. All of the women had cancers originating in their fallopian tube.  The study suggests that much of the ovarian cancer in BRCA carriers may begin in the fallopian tubes.

Updated 10/17/16

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