Is Ovarian Cancer Hereditary?

Updated at: Feb 18, 2012
Is Ovarian Cancer Hereditary?

Understand Ovarian Cancer- Hereditary factors of ovarian cancer significantly increase the risk of disease. On an average it accounts for 10% of ovarian cancer cases.

Bushra Kafeel
MiscellaneousWritten by: Bushra KafeelPublished at: Feb 18, 2012

Hereditary is the strongest risk factor for ovarian cancer. During lifetime, an average woman has about 1 to 2 percent chances of developing ovarian cancer. But a woman with family history of ovarian cancer has greater risk. Hereditary is regarded responsible in 10% of ovarian cancer cases. Hereditary ovarian cancer occurs in early years of life.

Majority of women who develop ovarian cancer does not have family history of ovarian cancer. Mutation of BRCA (Breast Cancer Susceptibility Protein) is associated with ovarian cancer syndrome. Therefore, women who carry mutation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at greater risk of ovarian. Depending upon the gene and mutation involved it increases the risk up to 10% to 60%. Both of these genes together have been found responsible for breast-ovarian cancer in 85% families.



BRCA1 accounts for 20 to 40 percent lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. According to some researches this BRCA1 is 60% responsible. According to some studies risk by this gene decreases with the increase in age of women. Some features of BRCA1 mutation include family history of:


  • One or more cases of pre-menopausal breast cancer with or without a case of ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age
  • More than two cases of post-menopausal breast cancer.
  • One or more case of ovarian cancer.
  • More than two cases of ovarian cancer in family.
  • Family history of male breast cancer.
  • Patient’s history of breast cancer



BRCA2 genes are closely associated with incidences of breast and ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is estimated to be 10-20%. In addition, it also accounts for 5-6% risk of male breast cancer and increased risk of melanoma and pancreatic cancer. Like BRCA1, features of BRCA2 also include family history of ovarian, breast and post-menopausal breast cancer. The only addition is the family history of pancreas cancer.



Recently physicians have discovered RAD51D (a new genes) responsible for ovarian cancer. In a study done by Dr. Nazneen Rahman at the Institute of Cancer Research, UK established RAD51D in group of genes that lead to familial ovarian cancer.


Read more articles on Understand Ovarian Cancer




All possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; however does not take any liability for the same. Using any information provided by the website is solely at the viewers’ discretion. In case of any medical exigencies/ persistent health issues, we advise you to seek a qualified medical practitioner before putting to use any advice/tips given by our team or any third party in form of answers/comments on the above mentioned website.

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK