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A genetic test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, BRACAnalysis® assesses a woman’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer based on detection of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. This test has become the standard of care in identification of individuals with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and is reimbursed by insurance.

Understanding Inherited Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Breast and ovarian cancer are topics of concern for all women – regardless of family history. Each year, close to 200,000 cases of breast cancer and about 25,000 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed. While the majority of breast and ovarian cancers are not caused by inherited risk factors, research has shown that about 10 percent of these cases are hereditary.

Inherited Cancer Risk Factors

Many people are unaware of their inherited risk, though they may be aware of a cancer history in their family. Whether or not you’ve had cancer, a family history of early onset breast and/or ovarian cancer at any age can point to the presence of hereditary cancer risk. Your risk for breast and ovarian cancer may also be heightened if you are of Ashkenazi or Eastern European Jewish heritage.

How is this risk inherited?

We’re all born with two copies of about 30,000 different genes, one copy of each gene from our mother and the other from our father. Two genes in particular, BRCA1 and BRCA2, normally work to prevent breast and ovarian cancer. But in some cases, we can inherit a BRCA1 or BRCA2 alteration from either parent.

This alteration or mutation interferes with the normal activity of the gene, making us more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. A person with one of these gene mutations has a higher risk of developing these cancers and also may pass that gene mutation on to his or her children.

Please visit the website to learn more about inherited breast and ovarian cancer.