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Cancer Risk
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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Cancer Risks Associated with Inherited Mutations

If you have tested positive for a mutation, we recommend that you consult 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. People with a mutation have a higher risk for several cancers. These cancers tend to be diagnosed at a younger age than in people without a mutation. The risks listed below are estimates based on different large studies. Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

Breast cancer 

  Risk with a mutation Average- risk person Notes
Breast cancer in women 65%  12.5%   
Risk for 2nd breast cancer diagnosis in women who were premenopausal at the time of 1st diagnosis 33% risk within 10 years of initial diagnosis   Applies to women who have not had  mastectomy 
Risk for 2nd breast cancer diagnosis in women who were postmenopausal at the time of 1st diagnosis  12% risk within 10 years of initial diagnosis   Applies to women who have not had  mastectomy 
Male breast cancer 0.2-1.2% 0.1%  

 

Gynecologic cancer

Cancer type Risk with a mutation Average- risk person Notes
Ovarian, and primary peritoneal cancers 40-60%  1.3%   
Endometrial cancer Less than 5% 3.1% mutations have been linked to a rare but aggressive type of endometrial cancer. 

 

cancer

  Risk with a mutation Average- risk person Notes
cancer Up to 26%  12% People with an inherited mutation may be more likely to develop an  aggressive type of cancer.   

 

Pancreatic cancer

  Risk with a mutation Average- risk person
Pancreatic cancer 5%  1.0% 

 

Other cancers

Research on how mutations in the  gene affect cancer risk is ongoing. Genetics experts often look at a person’s family history of cancer to help people with  mutations understand their risk for additional cancers.

Graph of lifetime risk for breast cancer in women with a <button
                x-data
                class='glossary-tip tt-brca1'
                x-tooltip='<p>BRCA1 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in BRCA1 increase the risk for breast (male and female), ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and possibly other cancers and can cause cancer to run in families.</p>'
            >BRCA1</button> mutation       Graph of lifetime risk of ovarian cancer in people with a <button
                x-data
                class='glossary-tip tt-brca1'
                x-tooltip='<p>BRCA1 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in BRCA1 increase the risk for breast (male and female), ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and possibly other cancers and can cause cancer to run in families.</p>'
            >BRCA1</button> mutation

Graph of lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer in people with a <button
                x-data
                class='glossary-tip tt-brca1'
                x-tooltip='<p>BRCA1 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in BRCA1 increase the risk for breast (male and female), ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and possibly other cancers and can cause cancer to run in families.</p>'
            >BRCA1</button> mutation       Graph of lifetime risk for prostate cancer in men with a <button
                x-data
                class='glossary-tip tt-brca1'
                x-tooltip='<p>BRCA1 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in BRCA1 increase the risk for breast (male and female), ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and possibly other cancers and can cause cancer to run in families.</p>'
            >BRCA1</button> mutation

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
Last updated November 28, 2023

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

The following are studies looking at level of risk or risk-management for people with inherited or mutations. Check study listings or contact the study team to see if you are eligible. 

Multiple cancers

Breast cancer

cancer

Ovarian cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Additional risk-management clinical trials for people with inherited mutations may be found here.

updated: 09/11/2022