Facts about Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Breast cancer is a common disease affecting approximately one in eight, or 13 percent of women in the United States. Risk for developing breast cancer is dependent upon a combination of lifestyle and certain personal risk factors. The majority of breast cancer cases are sporadic, or due to a random combination of genetic and environmental cancers.
While most women with breast cancer and ovarian cancer develop cancer as a result of non-inherited factors, a small number of women will inherit a significant risk of developing these cancers because of a mutation in a specific gene.
The two genes most commonly associated with an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Individuals with mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 are at a greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Men can also inherit these mutations and have a higher risk for breast cancer than the average man. There also may be an increased risk for several other types of cancer in men and/or women, such as pancreatic, colon and prostate cancer. When a person is found to be at higher risk for cancer, an individualized cancer risk management program is developed.
Cancer risk management includes more intensive screening to increase the chances of early cancer detection, preventive or risk-reducing surgical procedures and
chemoprevention (taking medications to decrease cancer risk). These steps can ultimately reduce the risk of developing cancer and potentially be life-saving. For more information, visit One Step Ahead Program.