Breast and ovarian cancer are topics of concern for all women—regardless of their family history. In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 184,000 new cases of breast cancer and approximately 21,650 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed. About 10 percent of these cases are hereditary.
Below you'll find information on breast and ovarian cancer, including sections on:
Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome:
For more about HBOC, see HBOC 101
A test can help confirm if you have hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome.
If you do have hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome, you can:
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, more than 182,000 US women - and about 2,000 US men - will, be diagnosed with breast cancer. Approximately 40,500 US women - and about 450 US men - will die from breast cancer in 2008. Not counting certain skin cancers, in the United States:
Because it is always better to discover a cancer early, and because many women do not have any warning signs or symptoms, it is important to undergo regular screening for breast cancer.
While it is much less common than breast cancer, ovarian cancer is more difficult to find at an early stage. According to the Mayo Clinic, only about 20 percent of ovarian cancers are found before the cancer has spread.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, there will be approximately 21,650 new cases of ovarian cancer and approximately 15,500 women will die from ovarian cancer.
In the United States:
According to the first national agreement on ovarian cancer symptoms (2007), women at risk for ovarian cancer should see their gynecologist if any of the following symptoms persist most days for more than a few weeks:
For breast cancer and ovarian cancer, age, environment, and lifestyle can affect a person's risk. An individual's risk factors may include:
|Breast Cancer||Ovarian Cancer|
|Age (most women who develop breast cancer are over 50)||Age (most women who develop ovarian cancer do so after menopause). Risk increases with age into the late 70s.|
|Having had breast cancer already||–|
|Exposure to radiation, especially during adolescence||–|
|Being overweight||Being overweight in early adulthood|
|Early puberty, especially with menstruation before age 12||Infertility|
|Late menopause, especially after age 55||–|
|First pregnancy after age 30 or never becoming pregnant||Never becoming pregnant|
|Having treated menopause symptoms with hormone therapy||Having treated menopause symptoms with hormone therapy|
|Using or having used birth control pills*||Not using birth control pills*|
|Drinking more than one alcoholic beverage daily||–|
|Breast density as shown on mammograms||–|
|Precancerous changes in a breast||Ovarian cysts that develop after menopause|
|Hereditary Risk Factors||–|
|Race and heritage, especially for women of Ashkenazi, or Eastern European Jewish, ancestry||Race and heritage, especially for women of Ashkenazi , or Eastern European Jewish, ancestry|
|Family history of breast or ovarian cancer, especially in a first-degree relative||Family history of breast or ovarian cancer, especially in a first-degree relative|
|Inherited gene mutations known to contribute to breast cancer risk||Inherited gene mutations known to contribute to breast cancer risk|
Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome is an inherited condition that causes an increased risk of developing these cancers, often before the age of 50. Research shows that about 10% of breast and ovarian cancer is due to an alteration in one of 2 genes—BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes can come from either your mother or your father.
For more about HBOC Risk Factors, see Inherited Risk.
|If You Have NOT Had Breast
or Ovarian Cancer:
|Breast cancer by age 50||33%-50%||2%|
|Breast cancer by age 70||56%-87%||7%|
|Ovarian cancer by age 70||27%-44%||<2%|
|Male breast cancer by age 70||6%||.05%|
|If You HAVE Had Breast
or Ovarian Cancer:
|Ovarian cancer||15%||not available|
|Breast cancer after 5 years||27%||3.5%|
|Breast cancer by age 70||64%||11%|
|Other Cancer Risks:*||BRCA Mutation
|Prostate cancer by age 80||20%||15%|
|Pancreatic cancer by age 80||2%-4%||<1%|