How Is Ovarian Cancer Linked to Breast Cancer?

Researchers have discovered a link between breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

While looking over cancer statistics in women, a pattern will emerge – an apparent link between cancer in the breasts and cancer in the ovaries. Women who have developed breast cancer at some point have a much higher risk of also developing ovarian cancer later in their life. The link is also evident in reverse. Why does this happen?

Gene Mutations

BRCA1 and BRCA2, also known as the breast cancer genes, are primarily responsible for this link. Women with these mutations are much more likely to develop both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. If you have reason to believe that you have either of these mutations, testing is available. A positive result may lead patients to consider a double mastectomy and hysterectomy, which removes the risk of both cancers.

Personal and Family History

Even without these gene mutations present, researchers have found a link between breast and ovarian cancers in certain families. Although they are unsure about why this link exists, knowledge of it helps women assess their risk for either cancer. Not only should you consider your own medical history, you should look to the medical history of your immediate female relatives. Any ovarian cancer or early breast cancer could be a warning that you may develop either or both.

Does your family history put you at a higher risk for ovarian and breast cancer? You might need to begin annual mammograms at an earlier age. If you decide that this is the right step for you, you can make an appointment when you call 972-612-6500.

Related Posts:

BRCA and Cancer Risk

Lowering Your Risk of Cervical Cancer

Surprising Signs of Ovarian Cancer

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