Preventing breast and ovarian cancers

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, after skin cancer. Many factors may increase a woman’s risk of developing this disease—and, in some cases, ovarian cancer, too. There are also many things a woman can do to decrease her risk. At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), we offer the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program, to assess the risk for breast and ovarian cancer and provide information on the steps they can take to reduce their risk. To request an appointment, call (206) 606-6100.

Breast and ovarian cancer prevention program

The Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program (BOCPP) is for women with a very strong risk for breast cancer or ovarian cancer. You may be at high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer if:

  • You have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, such as:
    • Two or more relatives on the same side of your family have had breast or ovarian cancer, especially if the breast cancer was diagnosed before the age of 40.
    • A relative had cancer in both breasts.
    • A relative had both breast and ovarian cancer.
    • Male relatives have had breast cancer.
  • You had an abnormal result on your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic test.
  • You have Lynch syndrome or another genetic abnormality that is associated with breast cancer, ovarian cancer or both.

At this clinic, we provide a personalized approach to cancer risk assessment, prevention, and screening, including an evaluation and a discussion of your individual breast and ovarian cancer risk.

Prevention plan

The BOCPP team is made up of breast and ovarian cancer experts, including a medical oncologist, a genetic counselor, a nutritionist, and a gynecologic oncologist. You’ll receive information about hereditary and nonhereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk factors and strategies for risk reduction. The team will help you develop a comprehensive, personalized plan to try to prevent cancer from occurring and increase the likelihood of detecting it early, if it does occur. Your plan may include chemoprevention; screening with physical exams, blood tests, and imaging (like mammograms, ultrasounds, or magnetic resonance imaging, MRI); risk-reducing surgery; and new technologies and developments. If you are interested, there may be research studies you can participate in as well.

What’s the difference?

The clinic that’s right for you depends on your medical history and your family’s cancer history. Our intake staff can help you determine which clinic best fits your needs. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call (206) 606-6100.

BRCA1 and BRCA2

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes in the class of genes called tumor suppressors.

Mutation of these genes has been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Mary-Claire King, PhD, a University of Washington professor of genome sciences and medicine, discovered the "breast cancer gene," BRCA1, on chromosome 17, which is responsible for a number of different inherited breast and ovarian cancers. This led to the discovery of BRCA2..

A woman's risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Men with these mutations are also at increased risk for breast cancer.

Genetic tests are available to check for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and genetic counseling is recommended before and after these tests with SCCA's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program.

If a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is found, several options are available to help you understand and manage your cancer risk. Research studies are ongoing to find better ways of detecting, treating, and preventing cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

BRCA1 & BRCA2 Mutations for Breast Cancer. Dr. Larissa Korde discusses the link between BRCA mutations and breast cancer.
BRCA1 and BRCA2

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes in the class of genes called tumor suppressors.