What is it?

One of the known risk factors for breast or ovarian cancer is a family history. Around 5% of breast cancers and 15% of ovarian cancers occur due to a family history. Family history means the person with cancer has inherited 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 cancer are BRCA1 or BRCA2. If your blood relative has either of these genes, you have a one in two chance of inheriting it. 

If you have one of these genes, you have an increased risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer. But having one of these genes doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. 

Testing can help you learn if any of your blood relatives have the BRCA gene mutation. Your GP can talk to you about genetic testing and monitoring for symptoms.