Everyone has BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes. Some people are born with changes, called mutations, in these genes. 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish individuals have a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.
Mutations in the BRCA1/2 genes raise a person’s risk for developing cancer in their lifetime. Cancer risks can be higher for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and possibly others. BRCA mutation carriers can also be at higher risk to have cancer at younger ages. If your mother or father has a BRCA1/2 gene mutation, you have a 50% chance of having the same gene mutation.
You can learn more about hereditary cancer risk assessment among persons of Jewish ancestry by watching the presentation below, hosted by two of Middlesex Health's Licensed Genetic Counselors.