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Abnormal BRCA Genes Also Increase Risk in Men

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Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. About 1% of breast cancers are diagnosed in men. A study confirms that abnormal BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase breast cancer risk in men, especially younger men. (Women who have an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have up to a 72% risk of developing breast cancer by age 70.)

The researchers found that men with an abnormal BRCA1 gene had a 1.2% risk of developing breast cancer by age 70. Men with an abnormal BRCA2 gene had a 6.8% risk of developing breast cancer by age 70. Overall, men with one of these abnormal genes are 80 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men who don't have one of these abnormal genes. Other research has found an association between an abnormal BRCA2 gene and an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

If you're a woman with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or you have blood relatives with one of these abnormal genes, it's possible your sons or other male relatives could have the same abnormality. You might want to consider talking to a doctor about whether your sons or male relatives should be tested for an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

To learn more about breast cancer risk, diagnosis, and treatment in men, visit the Male Breast Cancer section.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Jan. 22, 2019, with updated information on cancer risks associated with BRCA mutations.

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