BRCA2 Fact Sheet

Cancer Risk Estimates

Cancer Type Average lifetime risk Risk by age 70 with BRCA2 variant*
Female breast 12% 38-84%
Male breast <0.1% up to 8.9%
Ovarian 1-2% 16-27%
Prostate 11% 15-20%
Pancreatic <1% 2-7%
Melanoma (cutaneous/ocular) 1.6% Elevated

*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.

Melanoma: Skin exam by a dermatologist.

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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