There is some stress from some Teal Warriors for all the hype that Breast Cancer Awareness receives and they should not be. This is something they should be uniting on. What most people do not know is how they are related…..
If you have a family history of either cancer, in your family, you are more likely to get one or the other. This is because these cancers can be caused by an inherited mutation (change) in certain genes that cause a family cancer syndrome that increases the risk of ovarian cancer. This syndrome is caused by inherited mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as possibly some other genes that have not yet been identified. This syndrome is linked to a high risk of breast cancer as well as ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers. The risk of some other cancers, such as pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer, are also increased. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are also responsible for most inherited ovarian cancers. When these genes are normal they help prevent cancer by making proteins that keep cells from growing abnormally (they act as tumor suppressors). But if you have inherited a mutation (defect) in one of these genes from either parent, this cancer-preventing protein is less effective, and your chances of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer increase. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are about 10 times more common in those who are Ashkenazi Jewish than those in the general U.S. population.
If you have had breast cancer, you might also have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. There are several reasons for this. Some of the reproductive risk factors for ovarian cancer may also affect breast cancer risk. The risk of ovarian cancer after breast cancer is highest in those women with a family history of breast cancer. A strong family history of breast cancer may be caused by an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, which is linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Bottom Line? If you or any member of your family has a history with the one cancer, you should be extra vigilant about both. Talk to your doctor about genetic testing if either falls in your family history.
Resources: American Cancer Society