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ATM: Cancer Risks
Read about different genes that are linked to hereditary cancer, their associated risks and guidelines for screening, preventing and treating cancers in people with inherited mutations in these genes.

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Glossary on

Cancer Risks Associated with Inherited Mutations

People with an mutation have a higher risk for several types of cancer. These cancers tend to happen at a younger age than in people without a mutation. 

The risks listed below are estimates based on different research studies. To understand more about your personal risk, we recommend that you speak with a genetics expert who can look at your personal and family history of cancer and help you decide on a plan for managing your risk.

Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

Cancer risk table

Cancer Type

Lifetime Risk with an ATM Mutation

Lifetime Risk for General Population


 Breast cancer



People with a common ATM mutation known as c.7271T>G variant may have a higher risk for breast cancer than people with other variants. 

Risk for 2nd breast cancer diagnosis in women who were previously diagnosed with breast cancer

4% risk within 10 years of initial diagnosis

Applies to women who have not had bilateral mastectomy

 Pancreatic cancer



 Ovarian cancer



Source: NCCN Guidelines: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast, Ovarian, Pancreatic, vs. 3 2024

Risk graphs

       lifetime risk for breast cancer in women with an ATM mutation

       Lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer in people with an ATM mutation

Other cancers

Research suggests that  mutations may also increase the risk for cancer.  More research is needed to better define the lifetime risks for other cancers in people with an  mutation. For this reason, genetics experts often look at a family’s history of cancer to help people with  mutations understand their risk for additional cancers.

It is important to note that cancer risks are estimates over the course of a person's lifetime. Your lifetime risk and risk over the next five years will vary depending on:

  • current age
  • sex assigned at birth
  • specific mutation
  • personal and family health history
  • diet, exercise, lifestyle and other factors

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

NCT02665195: Registry Of MultiPlex Testing (PROMPT). PROMPT is an online research registry. The goal of PROMPT is to help researchers to better understand the risks that are linked to mutations in less well-studied genes. People with inherited mutations can enroll in PROMPT to help researchers learn more about cancer risks. 

Get Support
Get Support

FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations. 

Last updated June 21, 2024