Updated 15 July 2015

Afrikaners and the breast cancer gene

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in South African women and will affect one in every 33 women in the country.

About 15 percent of all cancers, including those affecting the breasts, are inherited and just two genes, known as BRCA1 and 2, are responsible for most hereditary breast cancers. 

In 2013, genetic testing revealed that Angelina Jolie carried the BRCA1 gene and she has since had a preventative double mastectomy to avoid developing breast cancer.

Now, new research shows that these potentially killer genes may be more predominant among Afrikaner cancer patients. 

Check your genetic risk for breast cancer:

  Familial risk: 4 close relatives diagnosed younger than 60 years; 3 close relatives diagnosed younger than 50 years; 2 close relatives diagnosed younger than 60 years and ovarian cancer in the family; male breast cancer and any family history of breast cancer
  Ethnic risk: Founder populations such as patients of Ashkenazi Jewish or Afrikaner ancestry with a family history of breast cancer
  Personal risk: Bilateral breast cancer at a relatively young age; ovarian cancer diagnosed younger than 30 years

Read more on this research finding and how better screening could save your life


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Smoking dangers »

Hubbly hooking lots of young adults on tobacco Hookah smokers are inhaling benzene Many young adults misinformed about hookahs

Hookah pipes far from harmless, study warns

In addition to toxic substances from tobacco and nicotine, hookah smoke exposes users to charcoal combustion products, including large amounts of carbon monoxide.

Managing incontinence »

5 avoidable triggers that can make urinary incontinence worse

Urinary incontinence is a manageable condition – here are a few common triggers of urinary leakage.