Talking to your Family about Hereditary Cancer Resources

Nobody should suffer and die of a preventable cancer. Nobody. 

Please share these links with anybody who might have a family history of cancer.

It's important to share medical information with your family
Because hereditary cancer runs in families, it is important to exchange medical information with your relatives. Privacy laws make it difficult for health care providers to share their patients' medical information with anyone else. This leaves sharing of life-saving information up to members of the family affected by the mutation.

Sharing Information with Adult Relatives

By definition, hereditary cancers affect entire families. Inherited gene mutations can be passed from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters. Blood relatives, even distant relatives, may share the same mutation that runs in a family. Breaking the cycle of hereditary cancer requires two important steps:

    -- genetic testing
    -- sharing test results with relatives

Each family member who is tested and shares their results plays a key role in protecting their loved ones from cancer. This cycle of testing-sharing-testing-sharing is known by experts as “cascade testing.”

Sharing Medical Information with Relatives
If possible, the following family medical information should be collected and shared with close relatives:

    -- family members who were diagnosed with cancer
    -- age at diagnosis
    -- type of cancer, including pathology results, if available
    -- genetic test results

  Talking to Your Family About Your BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutation
Learn how to share test results, letters from your doctor or genetic counselor, or other information you received about your mutation with your family. Giving family members information about your specific genetic mutation helps their healthcare providers know exactly which test to use.

How to Share Genetic Test Results With Family
When you share genetic test results about hereditary cancers, your family members need to know at least these 2 important details to share with their health care providers or genetic counselors:

    -- The name of the specific gene where the mutation was found, like BRCA2
-- The specific mutation in the gene, like 187delAG in BRCA1

All in the Family: The Importance of Talking About Hereditary Cancer
The key is communicating information with not just your daughter or son, but also extended family such as an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or grandchild, according to Megan Myers, M.S., a genetic counselor from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).


Encouraging Family Conversations About Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer - YouTube Video Project

Bring Your Brave: Talking About Your Family History of Cancer



Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome
Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome is an inherited cancer-predisposition syndrome. Affected individuals have a significantly greater risk of developing certain cancers, particularly breast cancer, in both men and women, and ovarian cancer in women. Many affected individuals tend to develop cancer earlier in life as well, usually before the age of 50.

Brief Hereditary Cancer Syndrome Video

Assess your personal risk for breast and ovarian cancer here:
Please note: The Assess Your Risk quiz is moving to a brand new home. While we're working behind the scenes to make a smooth transition, the quiz will be temporarily offline.
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered or FORCE.
FORCE's mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families facing hereditary cancer.
Bright Pink's mission is to accelerate, deepen, and expand the impact of life-saving breast and ovarian health interventions.


Helping families by providing free education, support and help finding early detection and genetics services.


To alleviate the emotional and financial burdens of women facing breast and/or ovarian cancer (regardless of genetic predisposition) through advocacy, direct assistance, empowerment and events.

  Other Cancer Resources

Take a Stand!
Staying on top of your health is one of the most important calls you can make. nearly 5,000 people diagnosed with cancer every day in the US. Routine cancer screenings are incredibly important for early detection, especially for individuals with a family history of cancer.

 National Cancer Institute

The American Childhood Cancer Organization

St. Jude's Children's Hospital

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

American Cancer Society

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Living Beyond Breast Cancer 

Susan G. Komen Foundation

Supporting a Friend with Cancer --