Get involved in your own cause

read more >>

Up to 1 million Canadians carry risky genes

read more >>

But up to 80% still don't know it

read more >>

Home

What are risky genes?

Risky genes = HBOC Syndrome

HBOC (hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) Syndrome is caused by one or more inherited gene mutations that cause a higher-than-population risk of cancer in those affected.  Since HBOC syndrome was discovered it became clear it caused not only high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, but also prostate cancer and a slightly higher risk of some other types of cancer, depending on the mutation carried.  The term ‘risky genes’ is often used to be more inclusive to men and the various types of cancer involved.

read more >>

Discovery

HBOC syndrome is a fairly new discovery.  The first genes that, if mutated, cause hereditary breast cancer were discovered about 20 years ago and named BRCA1 and BRCA2, which stands for ‘breast cancer 1’ and ‘breast cancer 2’.  Since then, many more risky genes have been and will continue to be discovered that also fall under HBOC syndrome.

read more >>

How common are risky genes?

Risky genes are much more common than most people realize. The media too often downplays the incidence or only tells part of the story, as was often the case surrounding Angelina Jolie Pitt’s genetic status as a BRCA1 carrier, creating widespread public misperception that hereditary cancer is only a small problem.  Statistics are updated as researchers learn more and vary, depending on the source but the latest estimated have recently been increased from about 3-5 times more people than have multiple sclerosis to a whopping 10 times more.  That being said, most will agree risky genes is not a small problem.

read more >>

What should I look for in my family?

Risky genes cause a risk of breast, ovarian, prostate and a variety of other cancers. Genetic counsellors will look for incidences of those cancers along with a variety of other red flags within the side of your family suspected to carry risky genes.

read more >>

How do I test for Risky Genes?

The first step is to compile and discuss your family history with your primary health care professional. If risky genes are suspected, ask for a referral to a genetics clinic or a dedicated high risk clinic in your area.  If you suspect risky genes but do not fit the criteria for genetic testing or want to wait in what is sometimes a long queue for results, private clinics and affordable online services are available.

read more >>