A study is good news for women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation. Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have up to a 72% risk of developing breast cancer by age 80. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are found in 5% to 10% of all breast cancer cases in the United States.
This study suggests that women diagnosed with breast cancer who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 abnormality have the same prognosis as women who don't have these genetic abnormalities. If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, a BRCA1 or BRCA2 abnormality doesn't seem to influence your survival or the treatment plan you and your doctor choose.
If you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 abnormality and haven't been diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk for breast cancer is higher than the average woman's. You and your doctor should develop a special screening plan that includes more frequent screenings starting at an early age and possibly MRI scans or other screening techniques. These genetic abnormalities also increase your risk for ovarian cancer, so it's important to discuss this with your doctor as well. To learn more, visit the breastcancer.org Genetics and Breast Cancer Risk section.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Jan. 22, 2019, with updated information on cancer risks associated with BRCA mutations.