Women who have a BRCA1 gene mutation have a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer during their lifetime. Learn more about these risks.

Women who have a BRCA1 gene mutation have a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer during their lifetime. This page explains more about these risks. It should be read with our general information about BRCA.

If you have a BRCA1 mutation, it is important to talk to your genetics specialist about your cancer risk. They will explain the numbers below in more detail. Your risk may be affected by:

  • your age
  • the type of BRCA1 gene mutation you have
  • your family history of cancer.

It can be difficult to understand risk statistics and what they mean for you. You may find it helpful to print a copy of this page and take it with you to talk about it with your genetics specialist.

Lifetime risk of breast cancer

Of 100 women in the general population, 12 or 13 of them will develop breast cancer before the age of 80.

Women in general population – breast cancer

The risk is higher if you have a BRCA1 mutation. Of 100 women with a BRCA1 mutation, 65 to 79 of them will develop breast cancer before the age of 80.

Women with BRCA1 mutation – breast cancer



Lifetime risk of ovarian cancer

Of 100 women in the general population, less than 2 of them will develop ovarian cancer before the age of 80.

Women in general population – ovarian cancer

The risk is higher if you have a BRCA1 mutation. Of 100 women with a BRCA1 mutation, 36 to 53 of them will develop ovarian cancer before the age of 80.

The image shows a horizontal bar. This represents 100 women with a BRCA1 mutation. Just over half of the bar is shaded green. This represents 36 to 53 women who develop ovarian cancer before the age of 80. The rest of the bar is shaded grey. This represents 47 women who do not develop ovarian cancer.