Mutation=cancer risk. People with mutations in the brca1 or brca2 gene are at higher risk of developing certain cancers. With a mutation, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is 41 to 90%, and ovarian cancer is 8 to 62%. Pancreatic and prostate cancer are more common as well. If you are a woman and test positive, you will have to consider having your ovaries and breasts removed. Genetic counseling is key!
Mutations. The brca test can identify carriers of the mutations associated with the hereditary type of breast (& ovarian) cancer. Depending on the mutation (and sex of the patient) there are different risks of these cancers--this is best discussed w/a genetic counselor. One can then decide to have preventive surgery (mastectomy, oophorectomy), take risk-reducing medication, or close surveillance.