Hereditary Breast Cancer

Approximately seven percent of breast cancer cases are caused by mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.1  Individuals who carry a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a condition called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome, which is associated with an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer by age 70.2-4 Mutation carriers who have already been diagnosed with cancer also have a significantly increased risk of developing a second cancer. Myriad offers genetic testing that can be used to identify patients who are carriers of a BRCA1, BRCA2 or other gene mutation.

myriad brca mutation cancer risk graph

Assessing Your Risk

In order to assess your risk of carrying a BRCA1, BRCA2 or other gene mutation, your healthcare professional may ask you questions about your personal and family history. Knowing your medical history helps your healthcare professional determine whether you might be an appropriate candidate for genetic testing. Genetic testing can provide an accurate assessment of your risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

To help you determine whether you may benefit from genetic testing, take the Myriad Hereditary Cancer assessment. Answering a few questions can help give you the information you need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional.

Take the Hereditary Cancer assessment

Risk Factors for Hereditary Breast Cancer

Knowing your potential risk for HBOC can help you and your healthcare professional make better, more informed decisions about your health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has had a chance to develop. Genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer with the Myriad Genetics MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer panel should be considered if:*


  • Have had breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • Have had triple negative breast cancer
  • Have ever had ovarian cancer
  • Are male and have had breast cancer at any age
  • Have had a male relative diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, prostate or pancreatic cancer

Your Family

  • Has had someone diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
  • Has had someone diagnosed with ovarian cancer
  • Has had two breast cancers in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has had a male family member diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Has had someone diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at any age
  • Has three or more family members with HBOC-associated** cancer on the same side of the family
  • Has had a previously identified BRCA1BRCA2 or other mutation in the family

Using Hereditary Cancer Testing to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

If the Myriad Genetics MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer Test confirms the presence of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation or a mutation in another gene associated with breast cancer risk, the following medical management options may help reduce your risk and may either possibly prevent or possibly delay the onset of breast cancer or detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage:

  • Increased surveillance for breast, ovarian and/or other cancers associated with the gene mutation, such as starting cancer screening at an earlier age
  • Risk-reducing medications
  • Preventive surgery, such as mastectomy or oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries)

By using the results of Myriad Genetics MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer Test, your healthcare professional can help you move forward with the right action plan for your particular risk. Your test results can also help your family members learn and understand more about inherited cancer risk and how it may affect them.

*Assessment criteria are based on medical society guidelines.

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

Any discussion of medical management options is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation.  While genetic testing and medical society guidelines provide important and useful information, all medical management decisions should be made based on consultation between each patient and his or her healthcare professional.


1. Claus EB, et al. The genetic attributable risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Cancer 1996;77:2318-2324.

2. Pal T, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases.  Cancer 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

3. Risch H, et al. Prevalence and penetrance of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population series of 649 women with ovarian cancer. Am J Hum Genet 2001: 68:700-710.

4. Ford D, et al. Risks of cancer in BRCA1-mutation carriers. Breast Cancer Linkage Consortium. Lancet. 1994 343:692-5. PMID: 7907678.

Latest news

honoring-those-affected-by-rare-diseases Thumbnail

Honoring those affected by rare diseases

Quick — name three diseases that affect humans. We bet you came up with some of the most well-known, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and COVID-19. Those are all extremely common, affe...

Read more