In the U.S., breast cancer risk is slightly higher among Jewish women than among other women .
This increased risk is likely due to the high prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations in Jewish women of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews).
BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer genes 1 and 2) are the most well-known genes linked to breast cancer risk.
BRCA1/2 mutations can be passed to you from either parent and can affect the risk of cancers in both women and men.
Like other gene mutations, BRCA1/2 mutations are rare in the general population. In the U.S., between 1 in 400 and 1 in 800 people in the general population have a BRCA1/2 mutation .
However, prevalence varies by ethnic group. Among Ashkenazi Jewish men and women, about 1 in 40 have a BRCA1/2 mutation .
About 10 percent of Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. have a BRCA1/2 mutation .
Women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have an increased risk of breast cancer [29-31].
By age 70 [4,30]:
This means in a group of 100 women without a BRCA1/2 mutation, about 8 will develop breast cancer by age 70 (about 12 by age 85).
While in a group of 100 women with a BRCA1/2 mutation, 45-65 will develop breast cancer by age 70. These numbers are averages, so risk for a woman with a BRCA1/2 mutation may fall outside this range.
Learn more about gene mutations and breast cancer risk in women.
Learn about gene mutations and breast cancer risk in men.
Learn about testing for gene mutations.
Learn about risk-lowering options for women at higher risk.
Your family history of breast cancer and other health conditions is important to discuss with your health care provider. This information helps your provider understand your risk of breast cancer.
The Office of the Surgeon General created an online tool called “My Family Health Portrait” that you can use to make a chart of your family’s health history.
This chart may be useful when you talk with your provider about your family history of breast cancer and other health conditions.
Some support groups are tailored for people with BRCA1/2 gene mutations and those with BRCA1/2-related cancers.
Our Support section offers a list of resources to help find a local or on-line support group. For example, FORCE is an organization that has on-line support for women with hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Sharsheret has on-line support for Jewish women with hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Komen Support Resources