Clinical Genetics Service

While most cancers occur sporadically, and are caused by gene changes that happen during your lifetime, approximately 5 to 10% of all cancers are due to an inherited genetic change, called a mutation, to specific genes.

Because BRCA mutations are strongly linked to breast and ovarian cancer, they have been studied more widely in women than in men — and women are more likely than men to be referred by their doctors for genetic testing. But BRCA mutations are associated with many types of cancer, and men are also at risk.

A genetic consultation is often recommended for people who are concerned about their risk for cancer due to a personal or family history of cancer.

While an estimated 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are due to hereditary factors, ovarian cancer is unique—up to 25 percent of these cancers are thought to have a hereditary cause.

A cancer diagnosis isn’t a reason to stop being vigilant when it comes to prevention. In fact, cancer patients have even more reason to be on guard, because they usually have a higher risk for infection or for developing other types of cancer.