The Genetic Link

At least 10-15% of breast and ovarian cancers are directly related to the genes we inherit. This year alone, more than 25,000 women will be diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer due to mutations in one of several genes.

Learning more about the genetic links to breast and ovarian cancer empowers you to make better, more informed decisions about your health than women a generation ago could. Understanding your family health history helps you share more complete information with your health care provider. And understanding just a little about genes and cancer helps you understand the magnitude of your baseline lifetime risk.

“With the significant changes in the world of genetics over the last 10 years, we’ve come to understand that there are more than just a few genes that increase people's risk for breast and ovarian cancer. We used to think that BRCA 1 and 2 were the only genes involved, but in reality there are over a dozen different genes that are important to understand whether somebody is at risk for breast and ovarian cancer.”
— DEBORAH LINDNER, M.D., Bright Pink Chief Medical Officer
Genetics 101

How Your Genes Make You…You

Understanding how your genes work – and how they can mutate – is an important part of assessing your risk and taking charge of your health.

GENETICS 101

How Genes and Cancer Intersect

Getting an honest look at the links between genetics and cancer – and the risk factors for specific mutations – is one of the most powerful things you can do to begin lowering your breast and ovarian cancer risk.

THE CANCER CONNECTION

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Myth

Cancer genes can skip generations.

Reality

When there is a known gene mutation in a family, but a family member never develops cancer, it may appear that the mutation skipped that generation. But just because you have a gene mutation related to cancer, doesn’t mean that you will develop cancer. So there is no real way of knowing if the mutation has been passed down without genetic testing.

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Myth

Hereditary breast cancer genes are only passed down from mother to daughters.

Reality

You can inherit cancer gene mutations from either your mom or your dad and they are passed on equally to daughters and sons. So looking beyond the health history of your mom and her family tree is very important.

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Myth

Genetics is hard to understand.

Reality

The human DNA is pretty complicated, but you don’t have to know everything to understand how your genes and cancer are related. We’ve broken it down for you and highlighted the important bits so you don’t have to dig through too much science.

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