Women who carry the breast cancer gene have an increased risk for the disease, but it may not be as severe as experts originally thought.
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering studied nearly two thousand women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 55 or younger. They found not all carriers of the breast cancer genes had an equal risk for the disease. Relatives of women who had been diagnosed at a young age were more likely to develop breast cancer than women whose relatives got the disease after age 45.
The overall risk for the disease among gene carriers was between 36 and 53 percent which is much higher than non-carriers risk for breast cancer, but not as high as the 80 percent lifetime risk some organizations claim.