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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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Glossary on

Risk Management for People with Inherited Mutations

The  National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) provides risk management guidelines for people with mutations. NCCN notes that some mutations (for example a mutation known as IIe157Thr) may be associated with lower breast cancer risks than other mutations. 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 screening and prevention for women

  • Begin annual mammograms at age 40, or earlier based on your family history of breast cancer.
  • Have a discussion with your doctor about of the benefits and risks of yearly with and without contrast beginning at age 30-35.
  • There is not enough evidence to show that risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) benefits women with mutations. Experts recommend considering mastectomy based on family history of breast cancer.
  • Tamoxifen and other drugs that block can reduce breast cancer risk in high-risk women. More research is needed to prove that they are effective for women with  mutations.

Male breast cancer screening and prevention

  • There are no current guidelines on male breast cancer screening for people with a mutation. Speak with your doctor about the benefits and risks of screening. 

Colon cancer screening and prevention

  • Begin colonoscopy every 5 years starting at age 40 (or 5-10 years earlier than the age of diagnosis of a close relative with colon cancer).

cancer screening and prevention

  • By age 40, you should have a conversation with your doctor about the potential benefits, risks, costs and limitations of screening for  cancer.
  • If you choose to have screening, the guidelines recommend an annual digital rectal exam and  blood test.

Get Support
Get Support

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

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Health plan coverage of screening and prevention varies, and deductibles, coinsurance and copays often apply. If you need preventive services and your insurance company denies your claim, your health care provider can help you write an appeal letter, or you can use one of our sample appeal letters. If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

Visit our section on Insurance and Paying for Care: Screening and Prevention for more information. 

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

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

Multiple cancers


  • NCT03805919: Men at High Genetic Risk for  Cancer. This is a  cancer screening study using  in high risk men. This study is open to men with , , , , , , , , ,  and other inherited mutations.
  • NCT05129605: Cancer Genetic Risk Evaluation and Screening Study (PROGRESS).  This study will look at how well  MRI works as a screening tool for men at high risk for cancer. This study is open to men with inherited mutations in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and other genes. 

Ovarian cancer

Pancreatic cancer

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

Last updated December 30, 2023