About 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are caused by an inherited gene mutation. These gene mutations tend to be passed down from generation to generation.
Although the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common hereditary breast cancer genes, there are many different genes, including ATM, CDH1, CHEK2, PALB2, PTEN, and TP53, that have been associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Researchers are still working to discover additional genes that may affect whether someone develops cancer.
BRCA gene mutations are known for their breast cancer risk, but they also cause an increased risk for ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, and other cancers.
It is important to learn as much as you can about your family history on both your mother’s and father’s sides of the family. Breast cancer is just as likely to be inherited from your father’s family as it is from your mother’s family.
Fortunately, prevention and screening options are available for patients and family members identified as having a high risk for breast cancer. People who already have cancer could benefit from the ability to reduce the risk of second cancers.