Breast cancers

Breast cancer is classified under carcinoma: cancer that is derived from epithelial cells. The National Cancer Institute at NIH ranks breast cancer as the second most common cancer after prostate cancer, with an estimated 230 thousand new cases diagnosed in 2013 and almost 40,000 deaths. In the US, approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life, the rate being just under 12%. Breast cancer does not only occur in women; men are also susceptible to breast cancer, although the rate of occurrence is much lower.

Approximately 5%–10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations that are inherited from one of the parents. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most common. Women with - BRCA1/2 BRCA 1 2 mutations have up to 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, and they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age (before menopause). An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. Mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can be passed on from the mother or the father.