One in 75 women (1.3%) will develop ovarian cancer in her life. From 20% to 25% of these cancers are associated with a hereditary predisposition. Less common than breast cancer, ovarian cancer is nevertheless often associated with it since certain genes predisposing to hereditary cancer cause an increased risk for these two types of cancer and it is not uncommon to see cases of breast and ovarian cancer jointly in the same family.
Several genes have been linked to a high risk of developing ovarian cancer. For example, a woman carrying a pathogenic variant in the BRCA1 gene will have a 40% to 60% risk of developing ovarian cancer during her lifetime and 10% to 30% in the case of the BRCA2 gene. These genes are also associated with a predisposition to pancreatic cancer, as well as prostate cancer and breast cancer in men. Certain genes associated with inherited colon cancer also increase the risk of ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. We must therefore not underestimate the presence of different cancers in our family history even if they may seem unrelated. Moreover, it is the role of a genetic counselor to demystify all this for yo
The presence of certain family history, both maternal and paternal, increases the possibility of hereditary cancer :
- Breast cancer before the age of 45;
- Triple-negative breast cancer before the age of 60;
- A 2nd cancer in the other breast or in the same breast or more than one cancer in the same person;
- Ovarian cancer;
- Breast cancer in men;
- Pancreatic cancer;
- Metastatic prostate cancer or before the age of 55;
- Be of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and diagnosed with one of the cancers mentioned above.
Knowing if you are a carrier of a pathogenic variant in a gene predisposing to hereditary cancer gives you access to closer medical monitoring adapted to your genetic risks, early treatment and risk reduction options.
Prevention is the key to health!