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know your risk knowledge is power.

an opportunity to make an informed decision.

BRCA SA. our aim.


To create awareness, offer support, to connect with someone who has been diagnosed with BRCA (or related genes).

An opportunity to make an informed decision that could make a difference in someone’s future. To gain personal power through knowledge.

breast cancer risk.

General Population.

12% of women will develop breast cancer and  1.3% ovarian cancer sometime during their lives. 1% of men will develop breast cancer some time during their lives.

BRCA - Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene. There are two BRCA genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2.

BRCA1 mutation:

65-80% of women will develop breast cancer by age 70 years. 39% of women will develop ovarian cancer by the age of 70 years

BRCA2 mutation:

45% of women will develop breast cancer by age 70 years. 17% of women will develop ovarian cancer by the age of 70 years.

General Population.

• BRCA (chromosome 17) and BRCA2 (chromosome 13) are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins. These proteins help repair damaged DNA and, therefore, play a role in ensuring the stability of the cell’s genetic material.

• When either of these genes is mutated, the tumor suppressor protein is unable to help repair the DNA and cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

• Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast cancer and ovarian cancers, and they have been associated with increased risks of several additional types of cancer. (Pancreatic, prostate, and melanoma). Together BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 20-25% of hereditary breast cancers and about 5- 10% of all breast cancers

• Breast and ovarian cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations tend to develop at younger ages (pre-menopausal) than their non-hereditary counterparts

• Important to note that inheriting a BRCA mutation does not mean the person has breast and/or ovarian cancer – just an increased risk

Both Men and Women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, whether they develop cancer themselves or not, may pass the mutation on to their sons and daughters. Each child has a 50% chance of inheriting a parent’s mutation.


criteria for

• Breast cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger

• Ovarian cancer

• Multiple primary breast cancers either in the same or opposite breast

• Both breast and ovarian cancer

• Male breast cancer

• Triple-negative breast cancer

• Pancreatic cancer with breast or ovarian cancer in the same individual or family

• Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry

• Two or more relatives with breast cancer, one under age 50

• Three or more relatives with breast cancer at any age

• A previously identified BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation in the family



• The BRCA gene test is a blood test that uses DNA analysis to identify harmful changes in BRCA1 and BRCA2

• It is offered to people who are likely to have an inherited mutation, based on personal or family history, or who have specific types of breast cancer

• In South Africa testing is offered for the three most common mutations seen amongst Afrikaners and Ashkenazi Jews

• The quickest, simplest and lowest cost test uses positive results from a blood relative and checks only for the single mutation known in the family

• If no relative has previously disclosed positive test results, then a full gene test that checks the entire sequence of both BRCA and BRCA2 can be performed

what is genetic

A process whereby patients or relatives at risk of an inherited disorder, are given psycho-social support and advise on:

• The probability of developing the disease

• The probability of transmitting the disease

• The options available for management or treatment of the disease

Women with high-risk BRCA mutations may choose to undergo preventative surgery to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

A preventative double mastectomy (bilateral prophylactic mastectomy) is the surgical removal of both breasts before cancer has a chance to develop.

Such Prophylactic or preventative surgeries decrease the risk of developing breast cancer by about 90%.


For women who have BRCA1 or BRCA2, gene mutations removal of ovaries and Fallopian tubes is recommended between the ages of 35 and 40 once a woman has had children.

Currently, there are no effective screening techniques for ovarian cancer. High-risk patients may consider ultrasounds, or a blood test called CA-125.


Men with BRCA mutations have a 20% lifetime risk of prostate cancer, 6% risk of male breast cancer, and elevated risks of pancreatic cancer and melanoma.


criteria for

• Identify patients at risk for hereditary cancers

• Make health care professional familiar to be able to refer high-risk patients

• Support physicians and patients in all kinds of counseling mainly pre-and post- genetic testing

• Offer information related to hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer resulting from mutations in BRCA genes.

• Estimate risk

• Offer appropriate testing and correct test interpretation

• Provide emotional support

Where can Genetic

Testing be done?

Netcare Femina Hospital

Familial Cancer Centre 460 Belvedere Street, Arcadia, Pretoria

Contact: 012 304 1700

get in touch. get involved.

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