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Cancer Risk Associated with Inherited Mutations

Cancer risks may vary based on your specific mutation and family history. NCCN notes that some mutations (for example a mutation known as IIe157Thr) may be associated with lower breast cancer risks than other mutations. If you have tested positive for an inherited  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. Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

Breast cancer risk

  • Women have a lifetime risk of 20-40 percent.  
  • For women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer and who have not had mastectomies, the risk for a second diagnosis over a 10-year period is about 6-8 percent. 
  • Experts believe there is an increased risk for male breast cancer, but the exact risk is unknown. 

Colorectal cancer risk

People who inherit a mutation have a 5-10 percent lifetime risk of colorectal cancer. More research is needed to understand the lifetime colorectal cancer risk for people with mutations. 

Graph of lifetime risk for breast cancer in woman with <button
                x-data
                class='glossary-tip tt-chek2'
                x-tooltip='<p>CHEK2 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in&nbsp;CHEK2 increase the risk for breast cancer (in women and possibly in men), colorectal cancer and possibly prostate cancer. Mutations in CHEK2 can cause cancer to run in families.&nbsp;</p>'
            >CHEK2</button> mutation   Graph of lifetime risk for colorectal cancer in people with <button
                x-data
                class='glossary-tip tt-chek2'
                x-tooltip='<p>CHEK2 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in&nbsp;CHEK2 increase the risk for breast cancer (in women and possibly in men), colorectal cancer and possibly prostate cancer. Mutations in CHEK2 can cause cancer to run in families.&nbsp;</p>'
            >CHEK2</button> mutations

Other cancer risks for people with a mutation

Some research has linked mutations to other cancer risks, including and thyroid cancer. More research is needed to prove these links. Research on the risk for cancer in people with mutations is ongoing. 

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 February 24, 2024

Get Support
Get Support

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

updated: 08/06/2022