Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About the Genetics of Breast Cancer?

Maurie Markman, MD


April 01, 2020

When discussing genetics and breast cancer with patients, clinicians typically first address risk factors associated with mutations in tumor-suppressor genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as these mutations represent most of the hereditary types of breast cancer. Patients with either of these mutations have a 47%-87% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

Among families with a history of multiple breast cancers, 7% have BRCA1 mutations. For families with a history of breast and ovarian cancers, BRCA1 mutations are present in 40%. BRCA mutations greatly increase a patient's risk of developing ovarian cancer and are associated with a lifetime risk of 40%. Similarly, BRCA2 mutations confer an increased risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. In families at high risk for these cancers, 10%-20% carry a BRCA2 mutation.

In addition to BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, other genes and syndromes are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Are you familiar with the genetic risk factors for breast cancer? Check your knowledge with our short quiz.


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