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Inherited Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

Hereditary Breast And Ovarian Cancer Syndrome  (HBOC)
from National Cancer Institute (NCI)

“An inherited disorder in which the risk of breast cancer (especially before the age of 50) and ovarian cancer is higher than normal. Most cases of HBOC syndrome are caused by certain mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 gene. People with HBOC syndrome may also have an increased risk of other types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Also called hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome.”



Lynch Syndrome
from Genetics Home Reference, National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

“Lynch syndrome, often called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many types of cancer, particularly cancers of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, which are collectively referred to as colorectal cancer. People with Lynch syndrome also have an increased risk of cancers of the stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder ducts, upper urinary tract, brain, and skin. Additionally, women with this disorder have a high risk of cancer of the ovaries and lining of the uterus (the endometrium). People with Lynch syndrome may occasionally have noncancerous (benign) growths (polyps) in the colon, called colon polyps. In individuals with this disorder, colon polyps occur earlier but not in greater numbers than they do in the general population.”

Lynch syndrome is the most common genetic syndrome associated with endometrial cancer and a marked increased risk of colon cancer.


Jewish Women

“One in 40 Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews carries a BRCA gene mutation, nearly 10 times the rate of the general population, making Jewish families significantly more susceptible to hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  If you have a strong family history of cancer, have considered genetic counseling, or have opted for genetic testing, [Sharsharet] can help.”

“Recent studies show that Sephardic Jewish (Jews from Spain, Portugal, or the Middle East) women may also be genetically predisposed to hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer.” There are current studies suggesting that Jews of Ashkenazi descent (at least one grandparent) should receive genetic counseling to test for what is called “founder mutations.)

Sharsheret – Support for Jewish Women Living with Ovarian Cancer

“Whether you are living with early or later stage ovarian cancer, we provide specialized support for Jewish women and families. Connect to our ovarian cancer community in the way that feels most comfortable to you. “


"Sharsheret has a team of skilled and sensitive social workers and a genetic counselor who speak to thousands of women, helping us feel empowered to make informed decisisons about our bodies, our health and our future... I am grateful to Sharsheret for raising awareness about our genetic risk, and providing genetic counseling and support for women in whatever way they choose to handle this information." - Laura O. 

Hispanas And The San Luis Valley

“Hispanic women are at higher risk for ovarian cancer due to the migration of the BRCA gene mutation through the Jewish population into the Spanish and Mexican populations during the 1600s. Especially at risk are women in the San Luis Valley of Colorado where influences of colonial Spain are evident and the BRCA gene mutations were established.” See article in Smithsonian magazine and book by Jeff Wheelwright for more information.


Hereditary Cancer Quiz

“This online brief questionnaire will help you determine whether you should be further evaluated for either Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome or Lynch syndrome. On average, the quiz takes less than 1 minute to complete.”

FORCE - Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered

“FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Our mission includes support, education, advocacy, awareness, and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Our programs serve anyone with a BRCA mutation or a family history of cancer.”

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