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  • The lifetime risk of an individual female in the general population in the UK developing breast cancer is around 12%.
  • The male population breast cancer risk is around 0.1%.
  • Less than 1% of the population have harmful mutations of BRCA1+2
  • Harmful mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for between 5 and 10% of all breast cancers.  
  • Breast cancers associated with BRCA mutations tend to occur at younger ages than sporadic cases.
  • BRCA mutations also contribute to an increased risk of ovarian, male breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers and BRCA2 may be linked with melanoma.

Estimated lifetime risks

Tumour typePopulation riskBRCA1BRCA2
Female breast 12% 60-90% 45-85%
Ovarian 1.4% 40-60% 10-30%
Male breast 0.1% 0.1-1% 5-10%
Prostate 10% 10% 20-25%