The Link Between BRCA and Breast Cancer

BRCA mutations can allow cancerous cells to divide and grow, putting you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Knowing that you have a BRCA mutation can impact your treatment options.

BRCA by the numbers

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

This year alone, breast cancer is estimated to be diagnosed in more than 252,000 women.

Of those 252,000 women, an estimated 12,600 to 25,200 have a BRCA mutation.

If you have a BRCA1 mutation, you have an estimated 72% chance of developing breast cancer by age 80. If you have a BRCA2 mutation, you have an estimated 69% chance of developing breast cancer by age 80.


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:

  • Some women with breast cancer are resistant to standard cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, making them less effective
  • Even if the cancer does respond to treatment, it can eventually return
  • Knowing if you have ER-positive, PR-positive, HER2-positive, HER2-negative, or triple-negative breast cancer could 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.
  • PR-positive=progesterone receptor-positive.