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Having a BRCA variant: What does it mean?

People who have one of the three BRCA variants (described in the "FDA Approved BRCA Markers" section in the report) are at increased risk for certain cancers - specifically breast and ovarian cancer in women and breast and prostate cancer in men. These variants may also be associated with an increased risk for pancreatic cancer and melanoma. However, it's important to remember that an increased risk does not indicate a certainty of developing cancer. Other factors like your age, reproductive history, and level of physical activity may impact your risk. The average lifetime risk of a woman developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. For women carrying a BRCA variant, this risk increases to 45-85% before the age of 70. Variants in the BRCA genes also increase the risk of ovarian cancer from 1-2% to 39-46% for women with a BRCA1 variant and 10-27% for women with a BRCA2 variant.
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