Practice Bulletin No. 182 Summary: Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome

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Abstract

Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome is an inherited cancer-susceptibility syndrome characterized by multiple family members with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both. Based on the contemporary understanding of the origins and management of ovarian cancer and for simplicity in this document, ovarian cancer also refers to fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer. Clinical genetic testing for gene mutations allows more precise identification of those women who are at an increased risk of inherited breast cancer and ovarian cancer. For these individuals, screening and prevention strategies can be instituted to reduce their risks. Obstetrician–gynecologists play an important role in the identification and management of women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. If an obstetrician–gynecologist or other gynecologic care provider does not have the necessary knowledge or expertise in cancer genetics to counsel a patient appropriately, referral to a genetic counselor, gynecologic or medical oncologist, or other genetics specialist should be considered (1). More genes are being discovered that impart varying risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other types of cancer, and new technologies are being developed for genetic testing. This Practice Bulletin focuses on the primary genetic mutations associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, BRCA1 and BRCA2, but also will briefly discuss some of the other genes that have been implicated.

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