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.
Risk management for people with inherited mutations
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) provides risk management guidelines for people with mutations. We recommend that you speak with a genetics expert, who can look at your personal and family history of cancer and can help you determine the best risk management plan. You can learn more about risk management options in our section on Screening and Risk Reduction by Cancer Type.
People with an mutation may also qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective screening or prevention for cancer.
Breast cancer screening and prevention
For women with mutations, experts recommend the following screening begining at age 40, or earlier based on the family history of breast cancer:
- yearly with , if available
- Note: At this time there is not enough evidence to suggest that people with an mutation need to avoid mammograms or other screening XRAYS as recommended by their doctors. See our Other Considerations section for information about the safety of XRAY exposure from mammograms in people with a single mutation versus people with a mutation in both copies of their gene.
- consider yearly with contrast
Experts also recommend women with an mutation have a discussion with their health care provider about the option of risk-reducing mastectomy based on their personal and family history of breast cancer.
Ovarian cancer screening and prevention
There has not been enough research to show a benefit from ovarian cancer screening and prevention in women who have an mutation. For this reason, experts recommend managing ovarian cancer risk based on family history of cancer.
Pancreatic cancer screening
The guidelines for pancreatic cancer screening for people with an mutation include only people with a family history of pancreatic cancer.
- For mutation carriers with a first- or second- degree relative with pancreatic cancer consider screening beginning at age 50 or 10 years younger than the age of diagnosis of the relative.
- For mutation carriers who choose pancreatic cancer screening, NCCN recommends that the screening be performed in an experienced facility. Before undergoing screening, people should have a conversation with their doctor about the potential benefits, risks, costs and limitations of screening.
- Consider annual screening with contrast-enhanced MRI/MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) and/or EUS (endoscopic ).
- Consider enrolling in a research study looking at methods to screen for cancer, or agents to lower risk.
Prostate cancer screening
- Beginning at age 40, men with an inherited mutation should have a conversation with their doctor about the benefits, limitations and costs for cancer screening.
- For men who choose screening, the expert panel recommends annual testing and digital rectal exam.
Other cancer screening and prevention
There has not been enough research to show a benefit from screening and prevention for other cancers in people who have an mutation. For this reason, experts recommend managing these risks based on family history of cancer. Cancer screening and prevention research studies may be available for people with mutations.
FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations.
- Our Message Boards allow people to connect with others who share their situation. Once you register, you can post on the Diagnosed With Cancer board to connect with other people who have been diagnosed.
- Our Peer Navigation Program will match you with a volunteer who shares your mutation and situation.
- Our moderated, private Facebook group allows you to connect with other community members 24/7.
- Check out our virtual and in-person support meeting calendar.
- Join one of our Zoom community group meeting:
- Meetings in American Sign Language
- Meetings in Spanish
- People of Color
- Young Previvors
- Young Survivors
The following are risk-management studies enrolling people with inherited mutations. Check study listings or contact the study team to see if you are eligible.
- NCT02665195: Registry Of MultiPlex Testing (PROMPT). PROMPT is an online research registry for people who have had genetic panel testing. The goal of the PROMPT Registry is to follow people with mutations or variants in genes on these panels, so that patients, physicians and researchers can more clearly understand these lesser-known risks. This study is open to people with an inherited mutation or in a number of different genes, including: , , , , , , and others.
- The Risk Factor Analysis of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer In Women with , or Mutations This study seeks to improve researchers’ understanding of how hormonal, reproductive and lifestyle factors may be associated with cancer in this high-risk population.
- NCT03805919: Men at High Genetic Risk for Cancer. This is a cancer screening study using in high risk men. This study is open to men with , , , , , HOXB13, , , , and other inherited mutations.
- NCT05129605: Cancer Genetic Risk Evaluation and Screening Study (PROGRESS). This study will look at how well MRI works as a screening tool for men at high risk for cancer. This study is open to men with inherited mutations in , , , , , , HOXB13, , , , , , , , , and other genes.
- Validating a Blood Test for Early Ovarian Cancer Detection in High-risk Women and Families: MicroRNA Detection Study (MiDE). The goal of MiDe is to develop a test to detect ovarian cancer. Participants can be expected to provide up to 4 tubes of blood every 6 months for up to 5 years. We can collect these samples through mobile phlebotomy all around the US. The study is enrolling people with , , , , , , and other mutations.
- NCT03250078: A Pancreatic Cancer Screening Study in Hereditary High Risk Individuals. The main goal of this study is to screen and detect pancreatic cancer and precursor lesions in individuals with a strong family history or genetic predisposition to pancreatic cancer. and Magnetic cholangiopancreatography (MRI/MRCP) will be utilized to screen for early pancreatic lesions.
- NCT02206360: Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection Program. This pancreatic cancer screening study uses esopheal to screen for pancreatic cancer in high risk people. The study is open to people who have an inherited mutation in one of the following genes: , , , CDKN2A, , or .
- NCT03568630: Blood Markers of Early Pancreas Cancer. This pancreatic cancer study involves blood samples over time to look for biomarkers of pancreatic cancer in high risk people. The study is open to people with a mutation linked to increased cancer risk.
- NCT02478892: Preliminary Evaluation of Screening for Pancreatic Cancer in Patients with an Inherited Genetic Risk Due to a , , or Mutation. This study uses and endoscopic to screen for pancreatic cancer in people with a BRCA1/2, or mutation.
Additional risk-management clinical trials for people with inherited mutations may be found here.