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Who should be screened for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, women who have more than a 20 to 25 percent chance of having an inherited predisposition to breast or ovarian cancer should undergo the BRCA test. These women include:

  • Women with a personal history of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  • Women with ovarian cancer and a close relative — defined as mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt — with ovarian cancer, premenopausal breast cancer, or both
  • Women of Ashkenazi Jewish decent with breast cancer who were diagnosed at age 40 or younger or who have ovarian cancer
  • Women with breast cancer at 50 or younger and who have a close relative with ovarian cancer or male breast cancer at any age
  • Women with a close relative with a known BRCA mutation
Genetic risk assessment may also be appropriate for women with a 5 to 10 percent chance of having hereditary risk, including:
  • Women with breast cancer by age 40
  • Women with ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer or fallopian tube cancer, or high grade, serous histology at any age
  • Women with cancer in both breasts (particularly if the first cancer was diagnosed by age 50)
  • Women with breast cancer by age 50 and a close relative with breast cancer by age 50
  • Women with breast cancer at any age and two or more close relatives with breast cancer at any age (particularly if at least one case of breast cancer was diagnosed by age 50)
  • Unaffected women with a close relative that meets one of the previous criteria