Genetic Testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2

Genes are the instructions found in our cells which direct our development, provide us with our characteristics and allow our bodies to function properly on a daily basis. We have approximately 30,000 genes in each cell of our bodies. Genes carry out important functions in our bodies. A gene with an abnormality, or mutation, cannot perform its normal function, and this may result in health or learning problems. Mutations in certain genes result in an increased risk for cancer.

Inherited Breast Cancers

It is estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of all breast cancers are inherited. Most inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with two genes called BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2).

Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have a significantly increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. In addition, BRCA mutations are associated with an increased risk for male breast cancer, as well as prostate, pancreatic and other cancers. Determining if an individual has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation can dramatically impact screening and medical management recommendations and also allow other family members to be tested to better assess their risks.

Family History Risks for Breast Cancer

Individuals with a personal or family history which includes any of the following may be interested in cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling: 

  • Multiple family members with breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Pre-menopausal breast cancer
  • Bilateral breast cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry.

The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Genetics Screening Program provides genetic counseling and testing for people concerned about their personal and/or family history of cancer. The program offers an extensive review of personal and family health history, assessment of cancer risks and the likelihood of a BRCA mutation in the family, coordination and interpretation of genetic testing, personalized screening and management recommendations.

Learn more about RCA Genetic Testing


For breast cancer treatment:

  • 414-805-0505
Request AppointmentView Treatment Team


Clinical Cancer Center, Froedtert Hospital 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53226

Cancer Network