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Hereditary Cancer and Genetic Testing

Cancer risk associated with inherited mutations

If you have tested positive for an mutation, we recommend that you speak with a genetics expert who can look at your personal and family history of cancer and can help you choose the best plan for managing your cancer risk. 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
  • gender assigned at birth
  • specific mutation
  • personal and family health history
  • diet, exercise, lifestyle and other factors

Breast cancer risk

Women with an mutation have an increased risk of breast cancer. The estimated lifetime risk of breast cancer is as high as 40 percent.  

Pancreatic cancer risk

People with an mutation have an increased risk for pancreatic cancer. The estimated lifetime risk is 5-10%. 

Ovarian cancer risk

Ovarian cancer risk is slightly elevated for people with an inherited mutation.The estimated lifetime risk is about 2-3%, compared to about 1.3% for the general population.

 

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                x-tooltip='<p>ATM is a gene found on chromosome 11.&nbsp;Mutations in ATM&nbsp;increase the risk for&nbsp;female breast, pancreatic, prostate and possibly other cancers.&nbsp;</p>
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            >ATM</button> mutation     Lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer in people with an <button
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                class='glossary-tip tt-atm'
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Risk for other cancers

Some research has suggested that mutations may also increase the risk for the following cancers:

  • melanoma
  • other cancers   

Research on the cancer risks in people with mutations is ongoing but not yet conclusive. 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.

Last updated September 13, 2022

Get Support
Get Support

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

updated: 08/06/2022

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. 

updated: 02/05/2022