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BARD1: Risk Management
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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Risk Management for People with Inherited Mutations

People with mutations have options for managing their increased cancer risk. Experts at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) created guidelines for people with a mutation to manage their cancer risk.

We recommend that you speak with a genetics expert who can look at your personal and family history of cancer and can help you decide on a plan to manage your risk. You can learn more about risk management options in our section on Screening and Risk Reduction by Cancer Type. Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

Breast cancer risk management

Beginning Age

Recommendation

Additional Information

25

Learn to be aware of changes in your breasts.

Based on NCCN guidelines for women of average risk. 

25

Breast exam by doctor every 1-3 years.

Based on NCCN guidelines for women of average risk. 

40 (or earlier based on family history of breast cancer)

Discuss the benefits, risks and costs of yearly breast MRI with and without contrast with your doctor. 

If MRI is not available, mammogram screening should begin at age 25. 

40 (or earlier based on family history of breast cancer)

Yearly mammogram.

No set age

Discuss the benefits, risks and costs of medications to lower the risk for breast cancer with your doctor.  

Tamoxifen or other estrogen-blocking drugs may lower breast cancer risk. Medications or vaccines are being studied in clinical trials.

No set age

More research is needed to show whether people with inherited BARD1 mutations benefit from risk-reducing mastectomy. Discuss with your doctor about the option of risk-reducing mastectomy based on your personal and family history of cancer.

Risk-reducing mastectomy lowers breast cancer risk by 90%, but has not been shown to improve survival. Even after double mastectomy, some breast tissue, and therefore cancer risk remains. 

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

Other cancers

There has not been enough research to show a benefit from screening and prevention for other cancers in people who have a mutation. For this reason, experts recommend managing these risks based on your family history. Cancer screening and prevention research studies may be available.

Last updated November 28, 2023