What are BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes?

Dr. Thomas Heck discusses what BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that are supposed to produce proteins that help repair damaged DNA to make sure the cells’ genetic material is stable, according to the National Cancer InstituteOff Site Icon (NCI).

Women who have inherited the harmful mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are generally at a higher risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer, according to the NCI. Men with the gene mutations are at increased risk of breast cancer.

The risk of developing breast cancer with the BRCA1 gene mutation is higher than the risk of developing breast cancer with the BRCA2 mutation, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

Having these mutations also can increase women’s risk of developing fallopian tube cancer and peritoneal cancer, according the NCI. It can increase men’s risk of developing prostate cancer, and it can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in both men and women.

For more information about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, talk with your doctor.

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