BRCA Inheritance: Are Your Family Members at Risk?

Because BRCA mutations are hereditary, they can be passed down to family members regardless of gender. This means that if you have a BRCA mutation, you inherited it from one of your parents. Detecting a BRCA mutation could help inform other members of your family that they may have an increased risk of cancer.

Know your BRCA risk

Between 1 in 800 and 1 in 1000 women in the United States carries a BRCA mutation.

Reasons to Get BRCA Tested

Up to 39% of women with a BRCA1 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by age 70.

How BRCA Impacts Ovarian Cancer

BRCA mutations can be a family matter

Everyone carries 2 copies of BRCA genes inherited from his or her mother and father. If 1 parent has a BRCA mutation, all of his or her children have a 50% chance of inheriting that mutation. Even if a child inherits only 1 mutated BRCA gene, that person’s risk of developing cancer increases.

BRCA mutations can be a family matterBRCA mutations can be a family matter

If you have an inherited BRCA mutation…

  • Your children have a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation
  • Your siblings have a 50% chance of having the mutation
  • There’s a 100% chance that one of your parents has the mutation

It’s important to know if your family is at risk—it could be life-changing.

Inform your family about their risk

Talking about cancer is never easy—it’s a process that requires patience and empathy. Sometimes it can be helpful to hear stories from those who have been tested. If you want to inform family members about their own risk, there are several things to keep in mind. Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) offers tips for talking to your family about hereditary cancers.


Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your family’s risk.


Educate others

Provide a way for your family and friends to learn more about BRCA and how mutations can impact them. Print out the BRCA Guide and pass it along to those who are interested in learning more.