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Cancer risk associated with an inherited mutation

If you have tested positive for a  mutation, we recommend that you consult with a genetics expert who can assess your personal and family history of cancer, and help you decide on a plan to manage your risk. Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

Increased lifetime cancer risks associated with a  mutation:

  • Women who have a mutation in are at increased risk for breast cancer. The estimated lifetime risk is between 40 - 60 percent.
  • Women with a mutation have an increased risk for ovarian, or primary peritoneal cancer (these three cancers and their risks are related and are often referred to together as ovarian cancer). The estimated lifetime risk is between 3 - 5 percent.  
  • People with a mutation are at increased risk for pancreatic cancer. The estimated lifetime risk is about 2 - 5 percent. 
  • There is unknown or insufficient evidence of risk for other cancers in people with a mutation. 

Graph of lifetime breast cancer risk in women with <button
                class='glossary-tip tt-palb2'
                x-tooltip='<p>PALB2 is the name of a gene linked to cancer. Inherited mutations in PALB2&nbsp;increase the risk for&nbsp;female breast, ovarian, pancreatic and possibly other cancers and can cause cancer to run in families.</p>'
            >PALB2</button> mutations   

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 July 13, 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

NCT02665195: Registry Of MultiPlex Testing (PROMPT). PROMPT is an online research registry. The goal of PROMPT is to help researchers to better understand the risks that are linked to mutations in less well-studied genes. People with inherited mutations can enroll in PROMPT to help researchers learn more about cancer risks. 

updated: 05/29/2023