HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER
WHAT IS HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER?
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, or HBOC, is a hereditary cancer syndrome resulting from certain inherited changes, or mutations, in two particular genes, BRCA1and BRCA2. The names BRCA1 and BRCA2 stand for breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and breast cancer susceptibility gene 2, respectively.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. When working properly, these genes help the body to prevent cancer by blocking, or suppressing, the uncontrolled cell growth known as a tumor. Women who are born with a copy of one of these genes that isn't working properly are at a sharply increased risk for cancers of the breast, ovaries, and certain other organs. Men can also inherit faulty BRCA genes, placing them at increased risk for cancer of the breast, pancreas, and prostate. An estimated one in 400 to one in 800 people in the US are HBOC carriers.
For more general information on hereditary cancer syndromes and the roles our genes play in cancer, start here.