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Hereditary Cancer & Genetics

Learn about genes and cancer, signs of hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, types of genetic tests and what results mean for you and your family.

Related Force Information

Weighing the Evidence: Are Women Who Test True Negative for BRCA at Increased Risk of Cancer?
Spring 2014 article about risk for cancer in people who test negative for the BRCA mutation in their family.

Using Multiple-Gene Panels for Medical Decisions
Spring 2014 newsletter article about about panel testing for multiple gene mutations.

New Tools Help with Uncertain or Negative BRCA Results
This article from our Spring 2014 newsletter describes multi gene panel testing for inherited cancer risk.

Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
This FORCE-endorsed book was written by founder and Executive Director Sue Friedman; geneticist Rebecca Sutphen, MD; and health writer, Kathy Steligo. This book is a comprehensive resource on all topics related to hereditary cancer, genetic testing, and risk-management.

Noncarriers in BRCA1/BRCA2 families do not have increased risk of breast cancer
Article on research from 2011 indicating that women who test "true negative" (they didn't inherit the BRCA mutation in their family) do not have elevated risk for breast cancer.

Genetics 101 Webinar
Is the cancer in your family hereditary? Dr. Sutphen reviews the different types of hereditary syndromes and mutations that can lead to cancer within a family; the types of genetic tests available for these syndromes; cancer risks associated with different hereditary syndromes; why hereditary cancers are different from sporadic cancers, and how hereditary cancers develop.

BRCA2 and Fanconi Anemia
Winter 2009 article on the link between BRCA 2 mutations and Fanconi anemia.

Could it be Cowden Syndrome?
Spring 2008 FORCE newsletter article on Cowden Syndrome, a hereditary cancer syndrome with increased risk for breast cancer.

Women with HBOC are diagnosed with cancer earlier than their mothers and grandmothers
Article on research from 2011 indicating that women with BRCA mutations are diagnosed younger than women in prior generations.

Tampa Study Finds BRCA1/2 Mutations Cause Many Ovarian Cancer Cases
Winter 2006 FORCE newsletter article summarizes research showing the connection between BRCA and ovarian cancer.


Apron Strings: Inheriting Courage, Wisdom and... Breast Cancer
by Diane Tropea Greene
Although dealing with a very serious topic, Apron Strings is an upbeat and optimistic look at what can be learned from the past, and all that the future has in store. When faced with adversity – faith, love, humor and the power of the human spirit will always prevail.

Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene
by Masha Gessen
In 2004 genetic testing revealed that Masha Gessen had a mutation that predisposed her to ovarian and breast cancer. As she wrestled with a wrenching personal decision (what to do with such knowledge) Gessen explored the landscape of this brave new world, speaking with others like her and with experts including medical researchers, historians, and religious thinkers

Positive Results
by Joi Morris and Ora Gordon, MD
One part memoir, three parts guidebook, Positive Results explains in a clear and steady manner the myths and realities of “the breast cancer genes

The Race to Find the Breast Cancer Gene
by Kevin Davies and Michael White
This book, written by the editor of the journal Nature Genetics, and a science journalist, chronicles the 15-year search to identify the BRCA 1 gene associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

What We Have
by Amy Boesky
In What We Have, author Amy Boesky tells the story of one year in her family's life. A year that is filled with wonderful and funny life changing moments - finding a dream house and having a new baby as well as life's tragedies - the phone call from their parents disclosing their mother's breast cancer.

Other Websites

In the Family
Developed by Kartemquin Films, the producers of the documentary In The Family, this website has links to articles and resources of interest to anyone concerned about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

National Human Genome Project
NHGRI is the division of the National Institute of Health (NIH) which focuses on research and resources related to genetics. The website contains links to a wide array of research and educational materials focused on genetics.

PDQ (Physicians Data Query): Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Written for physicians, this summary covers the subject in depth. It is updated monthly by the National Cancer Institute.

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
Produced by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered