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BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that have been found to impact a person’s chances of developing certain cancers, including breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

The genes are called BRCA because the link between these genes and breast cancer was discovered first. The genes themselves do not cause cancer. They actually help prevent it by repairing DNA breaks that can lead to cancer. Sometimes, changes in the BRCA genes occur that prevent them from functioning properly. These changes are called genetic variants or mutations. Variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can be passed down through families, increasing the risk of developing certain cancers.

Many people with a BRCA variant, both women and men, are unaware of their risk and what they can do about it.

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