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Cancer Treatment
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 Treatment for People with Mutations

People with an inherited  mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may have different treatment options than people without a mutation. To learn more about standard of care treatment options for specific types of cancer, visit our section on Cancer Treatment by Cancer Type

If you have an inherited  mutation, have been diagnosed with cancer and any of the situations below apply to you, you may wish to speak to your doctor about your medical options. You may also consider enrolling in a clinical trial studying which treatments work best for people with an inherited  mutation. 

Regardless of cancer type, people with a mutation may benefit from testing and may qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective treatments for cancer.

Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

Surgical decisions for women diagnosed with breast cancer

Experts estimate that women with mutations who have been diagnosed with cancer have about a 6-8 percent risk for developing a second cancer within 10 years. Because of this increased risk, some women who are diagnosed with breast cancer who test positive for an in  may choose  mastectomy rather than and radiation. Mutation carriers who undergo mastectomy are less likely to develop a second breast cancer. 

PARP inhibitors

PARP inhibitors are a type of that work by blocking a protein used to repair damaged . They were initially developed to treat cancers in people with an inherited  or  mutation. Since then, research and additional approvals have expanded use of PARP inhibitors to more situations. People with an  mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may want to ask their doctor about  therapy. 

prostate cancer

The PARP inhibitors, Lynparza () and () have received  approval to treat men with , who have a mutation in or another gene linked to a certain type of damage repair. 

PARP inhibitors for advanced ovarian, or primary peritoneal cancer

Several PARP inhibitors have been approved to treat ovarian cancers at different stages of the disease. In some situations, a tumor known as an  test ("hemologous recombination deficiency") can help women with an inherited mutation and advanced ovarian cancer learn if they may benefit from a .

after treatment

  • testing can help women with advanced ovarian cancer learn if they may benefit from the Lynparza in combination with bevacizumab as  after platinum chemotherapy.
  •  is approved for  in women with advanced ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who had a complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy. for does not require an test. 

after treatment of recurrent cancer

  • , () and Lynparza are all approved for maintenance therapy in women with recurrent epithelial ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who are in a complete or partial response to platinum based chemotherapy. In this setting, none of these drugs requires an  test. 

PARP inhibitors for other advanced cancers with no treatment options

If you have a mutation and advanced cancer that no longer responds to standard therapy, you may want to talk with your doctor about whether you might benefit from treatment with a

Get Support
Get Support

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

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Paying for cancer treatment

The majority of public and private health insurance plans are required to cover cancer diagnosis and treatment; copays, coinsurance and deductibles often apply. Patient costs and coverage for specific doctors, facilities or treatments may vary based on your health plan. Visit our section on Insurance and Paying for Care: Treatment  for more information, links to sample appeal letters and other resources. 

If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs that help cover the cost for their medications: 

Organizations that offer co-pay assistance:

Other resources:

  • The American Cancer Society provides information and resources on covering the cost of cancer care. Public assistance, such as Medicaid may be available if you are ineligible for other programs. 
  • Needy Meds: Assistance programs to help patients with cost of medications and other healthcare.
  • Triage Cancer offers tools and resources to help individuals cope with the financial aspects of a cancer diagnosis.

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following studies are looking at treatment for people with advanced


Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following are studies looking at PARP inhibitors as treatment for advanced breast cancer: 

A number of other clinical trials for treating patients with breast cancer can be found here.

Last updated December 30, 2023