BRCA: When It’s Good To Be a Quitter

BRCA: When It’s Good To Be a Quitter

We’ve discussed BRCA genetic mutations, the implications for breast and ovarian cancer, and touched on the impact it has on patient’s lives and the decisions made to deal with the mutation. Mutations in the BRCA genes are a non-modifiable risk factor for breast and ovarian cancers- increasing the risk significantly, but fortunately seen in only a small percentage of the population (around 2%).  


In a recent study, researchers found another negative BRCA connection – an increased likelihood of lung cancers for smokers in patients with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene. The risk for lung cancer is approximately double for smokers with the mutation as compared to those without the mutation. This translates to an approximate 25% lifetime risk of developing lung cancer – yikes! While there is nothing that can be done about the genetic mutation (at least not yet!), there is a way of modifying and decreasing that risk of lung cancer – you can stop and no longer be a smoker!  


Now, quitting isn’t easy. Not starting is definitely easier. But not smoking is doable. Not smoking can be the difference between life and death.  


There’s much you can do! There are resources available to women with the BRCA mutation – and there are resources to help keep your lungs free and clear. We recommend both! We want to celebrate your best possible health!




Image credit: Exercise, Smoking and Coronary Heart Disease by Alexander Belonogoff via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Originally published 6/10/14 on