Hereditary Ovarian Cancer

Approximately 11 - 15% of ovarian cancer and 7% of breast cancer cases are caused by mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.  When someone carries a mutation in either of these genes, they have a syndrome called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome.1,2,3 Myriad offers testing to determine whether a patient is a carrier of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations.  When assessing the risk of carrying these mutations a patient’s personal and family history is collected to investigate the risk for HBOC.  Once a patient is identified as being at increased risk of HBOC, genetic test results provide the most accurate means of cancer risk assessment for a patient.

BRCA Mutation Graph


Hereditary Cancer Testing for Ovarian Cancer

The following questions can be asked to help determine whether someone has a higher risk for ovarian cancer because of their own cancer history and their family's history.

Knowing the potential risk can help the healthcare provider and patient make better, more informed decisions about the patient’s health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has a chance to develop. Testing should be considered for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer if:

The Patient:

  • Has had breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • Has had ovarian cancer at any age
  • Is male and has had breast cancer at any age
  • Is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and has a personal or family history of breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer*

The Patient’s Family:

  • Has had two breast cancers in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has had somebody diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at any age
  • Has had pancreatic cancer and an HBOC-associated* cancer in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has three or more family members with breast cancer on the same side of the family
  • Has had a previously identified BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation in the family

* HBOC-associated cancers are breast, ovarian and pancreatic.

**Assessment criteria based on medical society guidelines.  For these individual medical society guidelines, go to

To help assess whether someone is a candidate for testing, they can take the Hereditary Cancer Quiz. This quiz can help them get the information they need to discuss with their risk of cancer with their healthcare provider and ask for further evaluation. If someone matches any of the red flags above or takes the quiz and finds red flags in their own history or their family history, they may benefit from hereditary cancer testing.

About BRACAnalysis®

BRACAnalysis® testing assesses a woman’s risk of developing hereditary breast or ovarian cancer based on the detection of mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. BRCA mutations are responsible for the majority of hereditary breast cancers. People with a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have risks of up to 87% for breast cancer and up to 44% for ovarian cancer by age 70. Mutation carriers previously diagnosed with cancer also have a significantly increased risk of developing a second primary cancer. Genetic testing, specifically BRACAnalysis, identifies patients who have these mutations. This test has become the standard of care in identification of individuals with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

BRACAnalysis® Results

The results of BRACAnalysis testing help healthcare providers and their patients make more informed healthcare decisions.  For example:

  • A patient who knows they carry a BRCA mutation can start cancer screening at an earlier age. They can also choose options like risk-reducing medications and preventive surgery
  • Healthcare providers can help patients move forward with the right action plan for their particular risks
  • Patients already diagnosed with cancer may be able to prevent a second cancer
  • Test results can help relatives learn and understand more about inherited risk and how it may affect them

For more information about hereditary cancer testing, please visit:

For Physicians:

For Patients:

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