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


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