I have risky genes, what now?


If you are reading this page you may have already been told you have a genetic mutation that greatly increases your risk of cancer. But how much and for what cancer?

Risky genes are complicated

It is no longer just about BRCA1 and BRCA2, but to date mutations in those genes are the most commonly found and the ones researchers know the most about.



Within each risky gene there can be hundreds of different mutations with various levels of cancer risk .  Unfortunately, because the science is so new we only have long-term data on the first two genes that were discovered, BRCA1 and BRCA2.  Researchers have come a long way, but cannot definitely pinpoint a person’s individual risk based on their specific mutation.  Because of this, cancer risk still tends to be reported in breoad ranges, and varies depending on the source.

It is important to know, when looking at hereditary cancer risk averages, a specific risky gene carrier may fall above or below the ranges reported.  Personal cancer risk is based on a variety of factors in addition to the risky gene carried and must be assessed by a medical genetics professional.

Below are some examples of how hereditary cancer statistics can vary:

Table_Cancer Risk Antonis

Table_Cancer Risk Meta analysis

Table_Cancer Risk Study

Early screening and cancer prevention options

Once you have received your personalized cancer risk assessment estimate from a medical professional, you will need to decide what course of action to take.  Thankfully, there today there are a wide range of options that our parents and grandparents didn’t have to find cancer at an early stage and reduce hereditary cancer risk.

Risk Reduction graphic

Learn more



Learning you are a risky gene carrier can be overwhelming.  There are so many tough decisions to make.  Will you start increased surveillance? Will you consider preventative chemotherapy or surgery? Now? When? Who will you tell? Do other family members need to know they may also carry a risky gene?  If you haven’t already, you may want to get connected to others like yourself so you don’t feel so alone and can get help with these and other difficult questions. If you want to chat about where to go next or how you can get involved, please contact us.