How did I get this mutation?
Some women are born with a BRCA mutation that they have inherited from one of their parents (this is known as a germline mutation). For other women, mutations in BRCA are acquired spontaneously during their lives without an obvious cause (this is known as a somatic mutation).
If you're BRCA mutation positive (BRCAmut+), you have the BRCA mutation either by inheriting it or by acquiring it spontaneously.
Inherited BRCA mutations are found in every cell of the body and can be passed down to children. In contrast, BRCA mutations that are acquired spontaneously are only found in the tumor cells and are not passed down to children.
In an Australian study following 1,001 women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer over nearly 4 years*, approximately 40%, or 2 out of 5, women with BRCA mutation–positive (BRCAmut+) ovarian cancer had no known family history of the disease.
Women with ovarian cancer who are BRCAmut+ have either inherited the mutation or spontaneously acquired it
*From January 2002 to June 2006.
BRCA, Breast Cancer susceptibility gene.