Individuals with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC) caused by an inherited germline mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have an increased risk for breast, ovarian cancer and other cancers including cancers of the prostate, pancreas and melanoma. The following list is gene specific cancer risks for individuals with HBOC. These are life time risks, meaning that a person is not born with stated but rather the risk of the particular cancer accumulates over their lifetime (age 70-80). These cancer risks are based upon current research in HBOC but may change as we learn more about HBOC and other genetic factors that apply to cancer risk.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A mass that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass or lump, or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.
Other possible signs of breast cancer include:
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
For many years, ovarian cancer has been called a "silent killer" because it was thought that symptoms did not develop until the disease was advanced. Recently, ovarian cancer experts found that this was not true, and most women had symptoms early on that were dismissed by themselves or their healthcare providers.
The symptoms that are more likely seen in women with ovarian cancer than healthy women include:
If you have these symptoms for two weeks or more you should contact your doctor.
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Advanced prostate cancers can cause some symptoms, such as:
Signs and symptoms of melanoma
The ABCDE rule is another guide to the usual signs of melanoma. Be on the lookout and tell your doctor about spots that have any of the following features:
If you know you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation then you can take steps to prevent these cancers. To learn about screening for these cancers visit our Managing HBOC page under next steps for you.
1. Gene Reviews http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1247/
2. American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/index