What are BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes?
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes which have autosomal dominant expression and may be inherited from the maternal or paternal side. Women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have an increased risk of developing cancer, with breast and ovarian cancers being the two most common types. With regards to breast cancer, women who have the genetic mutation tend to develop breast cancer at an earlier age than the general population and are more likely to develop bilateral breast cancer. Men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who carry the BRCA1 mutation are also at increased risk for breast cancer. Approximately 65% of BRCA1 mutation carriers and 45% of BRCA2 mutation carriers will be diagnosed with breast cancer by age 70.