Question:What does it mean for my family and me if I am a male with breast cancer carrying a mutation of one of the breast cancer genes?
Answer: If a man has BRCA2, or indeed carries the BRCA2 mutation, he has got continuing risk for developing a new breast cancer in the opposite breast and certainly would require constant surveillance for a prolonged period of time. Perhaps of greater import, however, is what that implies for other members of the family. Because this is a mutation that may be passed on to either a son or a daughter, and because each son and daughter will get half of their genes from their father as well as half from their mother, if the father is a BRCA2 carrier -- for instance the daughters of that patient are at much higher risk than normal for coming down with breast cancer, perhaps as high as a 50-80 percent lifetime risk and would need further screening. They also need to be considered in terms of their risk of ovarian cancer, which is increased if they, too, carry the BRCA2 mutation.