BRCA1 Fact Sheet

Cancer Risk Estimates

Cancer Type Average lifetime risk Risk by age 70 with BRCA1 variant*
Female breast 12% 46-87%
Male breast <0.1% 1-2%
Ovarian 1-2% 39-63%
Prostate 11% Elevated
Pancreatic <1% 1-3%

*Risk estimates are from GeneReviews, and may vary amongst different studies.

Medical Management

Medical recommendations for early detection and prevention of cancer include:

Female breast:

  • Breast self-exam starting at age 18
  • Clinical breast exam starting at age 25, every 6-12 months
  • Annual breast MRI with contrast starting at age 25
  • Annual breast MRI with contrast and mammography starting at age 30
  • Consideration of risk-reducing mastectomy
  • Options for breast cancer risk-reduction medications like tamoxifen

Male breast: Breast self-exam and clinical breast exam starting at age 35


  • Risk-reducing removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy) is recommended, typically by age 35-40 and upon completion of childbearing
  • Transvaginal ultrasound and CA-125 testing starting at age 30-35
  • Options for ovarian cancer risk-reduction medications like birth control pills

Prostate: Prostate cancer screening starting at age 45, including annual digital rectal examination and PSA testing.

Pancreatic: There are no specific recommendations. Screening should be individualized based on your family history of pancreatic cancer.

Recommendations may be individualized based on your personal and family history of these cancer types. Speak to your doctor about what options are right for you.

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