top of page

Know your risk. Knowledge is power.

an opportunity to make an informed decision.

BRCA SA, our aim


We want to share as much information as possible from our experience and offer support. Knowledge empowers us all.

We aim to connect with individuals impacted by breast or ovarian cancer. We aim to foster a community rooted in love, support, and awareness, and provide a compassionate space for those facing challenging times to share and find solace.

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 of 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: 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 ≤50

• Male breast cancer (any age)

• Multiple primary breast cancers 

• Triple-negative breast cancer (ER-, 

   PR-, HER2-) ≤60

• Two or more relatives with breast

   cancer ≤50

• Three or more relatives with breast 

   cancer (any age)

• Breast cancer and ovarian cancer,

   fallopian tube, or primary

   peritoneal cancer (same person/family)

• Ovarian cancer

• Pancreatic cancer with breast or

   ovarian cancer (same family)

• Prostate cancer (metastasized)

• Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry

• A relative with a gene mutation in

  breast, ovarian, or other susceptible


• 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     


• Offered to people who are likely

   to have an inherited mutation,

   based on personal or family history,

   or who have specific types of breast


• In South Africa testing is offered for

   the three most common mutations

   seen amongst Dutch heritage,

   coloured and Xhosa      

   women, Ashkenazi Jews

• The simplest and lowest

   cost test uses positive results from a

   blood relative and checks only for

   the single mutation known in the


• If no relative had disclosed positive 

   test results, a full gene test of 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


• 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

Online Consultation

HPCSA registered counsellors

Contact: Gene Team


Follow us on Facebook


Follow us on Instagram

BRCA South Africa

get in touch. get involved.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page