Quénet Torrent Institute

Is ovarian cancer hereditary?


Although ovarian cancer only accounts for 3% of all female tumors, it is the leading cause of cancer death in women.

One of the causes of this low survival rate is that most cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, since there are no effective methods of early diagnosis. However, there are some ways to find out if a woman is more prone to ovarian cancer in order to keep a closer look.

Is ovarian cancer hereditary?

It is known that between 5 to 10% of cases are hereditary. That is, women with two or more paternal or maternal relatives who have suffered from ovarian cancer and / or breast cancer have a higher risk (compared to the general population) of developing ovarian cancer.

The hereditary predisposition to develop this type of cancer is due to the existence of alterations in two genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which can be determined through a blood test.

It is important to note that having this genetic mutation associated with ovarian cancer does not mean that cancer will inevitably develop, but rather that the risk is higher compared to other women without this inherited disorder.

What should you do if you have a family history of ovarian cancer?

There are genetic tests that can find out if a woman has inherited this mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These tests are only useful for a small portion of women, those with a family history.

However, this test is not determinative, since a positive result in the gene mutation does not mean that the woman ends up developing this type of cancer at some point in her life.

In order to have support and to assess all the options of performing these tests or not, it is important to put yourself in the hands of a team of experts specialists in gynecological cancers.

If you are concerned about this issue and want to be advised by a team of specialist doctors, do not hesitate to contact our unit of gynecological cancer.

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Somos especialistas en cáncer de origen digestivo, ginecológico, de mama y carcinomatosis peritoneal