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BRIP1: 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.


Ovarian and cancer risk management

Beginning Age

Recommendation

Additional Information

45-50 (or earlier based on the youngest case of ovarian cancer in the family)  

Risk-reducing removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes (RRSO). Timing of surgery should take into account plans to have children. 

Before age 50

Researchers are studying whether the removal of the fallopian tubes only (salpingectomy), while delaying oophorectomy until closer to the age of natural menopause is a safe option for lowering risk in people who are not ready to remove their ovaries. If you are interested in this approach, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks, and consider enrolling in a research study.

  • At this time, it is not known if salpingectomy lowers the risk for ovarian cancer in high-risk people. 
  • Salpingectomy, followed by delayed oophorectomy requires two separate surgeries.

No set age

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have been shown to lower the risk for ovarian cancer in people with increased risk. Have a discussion with your doctor about the benefits and risks of oral contraceptives for lowering ovarian cancer risk. 

Research on the affect of oral contraceptives on breast cancer risk has been mixed.

No set age

Become aware of ovarian and primary peritoneal cancer symptoms. Report to any symptoms that persist for several weeks and are a change from normal to your doctor. 

Routine ovarian cancer screening using transvaginal ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test has not shown benefit and is not recommended.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • bloating or distended belly
  • difficulty eating
  • feeling full sooner than normal
  • increased urination or pressure to urinate 

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 family history of cancer. Cancer screening and prevention research studies may be available for people with  mutations. 

People with a  mutation may also qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective screening or prevention for cancer.


Participate in Prevention Research

Below are some of our featured research studies looking at new ways to screen for, prevent or intercept cancer in people with mutations. To search for additional studies, visit our Search and Enroll Tool


More Resources



Last updated June 22, 2024