Is There a Link Between BRCA and Breast Cancer?

BRCA mutations can allow cancerous cells to divide and grow. Knowing that you have a BRCA mutation can impact your treatment options.

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BRCA by the numbers

Having a BRCA mutation does not mean that you will get cancer, but it does increase your risk.

This Year Alone Over 297,000 Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

This year alone, breast cancer is estimated to be diagnosed in more than 297,000 women.

1 Out of 10 Women Diagnosed Estimated to Have a BRCA Mutation

Of those 297,000 women, an estimated 1 out of 10 have a BRCA mutation.

Estimated 70% Chance of Developing Breast Cancer by Age 80 with a BRCA Mutation

The average woman with a BRCA mutation has up to a 70% chance of developing breast cancer by age 80.

People With a BRCA Mutation Often Experience Breast Cancer 20 Years Earlier Than Those Without A Mutation

People with a BRCA mutation often experience breast cancer 20 years earlier than those without a mutation.

Almost 2 Of 5 People With a BRCA Mutation May Also Develop Ovarian Cancer

Almost 2 of 5 people with a BRCA mutation may also develop ovarian cancer.


When it comes to BRCA testing—don’t wait. Getting a BRCA test early could be a life-changing decision.

The impact on breast cancer treatment

You might be wondering why someone who already has cancer would consider BRCA testing, but genetics can play an important role when determining treatment options.

If you have breast cancer and test positive for a BRCA mutation, your treatment options could potentially change. Here’s what you need to know:

  • People with breast cancer and a BRCA mutation have tumor cells that struggle to repair DNA damage accurately, which leads to more mutations in the DNA
  • Blocking PARP in a cell with a BRCA mutation leads to even more DNA mutations. Too many or specific mutations can cause a cell to die
  • Knowing your breast cancer receptor status and status of mutations in BRCA and other genes may help to determine treatment eligibility for certain therapies
  • ER-positive=estrogen receptor–positive.
  • HER2-negative=human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative.
  • HER2-positive=human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–positive.
  • PARP=poly (ADP–ribose) polymerase.
  • PR-positive=progesterone receptor–positive.

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