The Link Between BRCA and Ovarian Cancer

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


Quick review:


BRCA genes normally suppress the ability of cancer cells to grow and multiply


When BRCA genes are mutated, their function changes, and cancer cells can begin to grow out of control


If you have a BRCA mutation, your risk of developing ovarian cancer increases

How to Get Tested for BRCA Mutations

Knowing that you have a BRCA mutation before your diagnosis can lead to proactive screenings. Testing positive for a mutation can also help determine your treatment options.

BRCA by the numbers

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

If you have a BRCA1 mutation, you have an estimated 39% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70. If you have a BRCA2 mutation, you have an estimated 11% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70.

This year alone, ovarian cancer is estimated to be diagnosed in over 22,000 women.

Of those 22,000 women, an estimated 3300 have a BRCA mutation.

Family history is important, but it’s not always an indicator of a BRCA mutation. A study showed that 47% of women with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer have no family history of relevant cancers.


Getting BRCA tested could be a life-changing decision.

The impact on ovarian cancer treatment

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

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

  • Some women with ovarian 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 that you have a BRCA mutation could determine treatment eligibility for targeted therapies
  • Some types of targeted therapy can target BRCA-mutated cancer cells, which means that women with a BRCA mutation are particularly sensitive to this type of treatment

Targeted therapy is advancing through new developments in science. You’ll want to know your BRCA status to see if you are eligible for these treatments.

Download the BRCA Guide

If you’re interested in getting BRCA tested, talk to your doctor. Use information in the BRCA Guide to help start the conversation.