What is it?
Around five percent of breast cancers and 15 percent of ovarian cancers are due to a family link. This means the person with cancer has a gene mutation from a blood relative. A mutation is a change or fault in the DNA of a gene. The gene mutations that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers are BRCA1 or BRCA2.
If your blood relative has either of these genes, you have a one-in-two chance of having it. If you have either of these genes, you have a higher cancer risk than someone who doesn’t have the genes. But having one of these genes doesn’t mean you will get cancer. Gene testing can help you learn if any of your blood relatives have a gene mutation. Your GP can talk to you about testing and checking for cancer symptoms.
What will my GP do now?
Your GP may talk to you about gene testing, which may be covered if ordered by a specialist. Your GP may refer you to a cancer service for more advice if:
- You have had cancer
- Someone in your family has had cancer
- Someone in your family has a rare gene mutation
Your GP may also discuss cancer screening and known ways to help prevent cancer, like:
- Moving every day
- Eating a healthy diet – reduce fat, eat more fruit and veggies, avoid or limit drinking alcohol
- Quitting smoking
What will my GP do in the future?
Your GP may see you each year to check your health and see if there are any changes to your risk factors. If someone in your family gets cancer, you may think about gene testing. You can discuss gene testing at any time, and you can change your mind about testing when you want.