Breast Cancer


About 5 to 10% of all breast cancers are linked to genetic factors.

If you are concerned about your family history of breast or ovarian cancer and would like to learn more about your genetic risks and test options, a genetic consultation can help you.

Contact a genetic counsellor

Why talk about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes?

The majority of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers are associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Some numbers:

  • 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime
  • 1 in 69 women will develop ovarian cancer during her lifetime
  • 1 in 1,000 men will develop breast cancer during his lifetime
  • 1 in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime
  • 5% to 10% of breast cancer is hereditary
  • 10% to 15% of ovarian cancer is hereditary
  • About 1 in 400 people (both men and women) carries a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation

Other less-common genes have also been associated with predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.

Cancer risks associated with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

Individuals carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer during their lifetime. The image below compares the general population’s risk with the risk of those carrying a BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation.

Statistique cancer du sein

When should I make an appointment with a genetic counsellor?

You should consider genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome if you have a family or personal history of one of the following:

A known family mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 or in another cancer susceptibility gene
Breast cancer before 50
Ovarian cancer at any age
Male breast cancer at any age
Triple-negative breast cancer (ER-, PR- and HER2-) before 60
Breast cancer diagnosis at any age, with family members diagnosed with ovarian, pancreatic, aggressive prostate or male breast cancer
Ashkenazi Jewish origins with a family history of breast, ovarian, pancreatic or aggressive prostate cancer
What services does a genetic counsellor provide?

Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals with specialized training in medical genetics and counselling. They provide personalized support to help you understand your genetic information, the potential risks for you and your family, and your testing and health management options. Their counselling training enables them to offer emotional support with making potentially difficult decisions. They can also put you in touch with the services and resources available in your area.

Learn more >

Contact a genetic counselor
Request a price