Frequently Asked Questions

Can men be diagnosed with breast cancer?


Yes, men in the general population can be diagnosed with breast cancer but the odds are very low.  Men who carry an inherited gene mutation for HBOC syndrome have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than the general population, but the odds are still quite low.  Your genetics professional will be able to assess a male carrier's odds of breast cancer, based on the particular mutation carried and a variety of other factors.

Why are the wait times so long to get into the high risk clinic?


These clinics are restricted by the amount of funding available to run them, with some clinics being 100% privately funded.  

I don't want to see my kids have to remove their body parts to be safe.  Is anyone doing anything to find a cure?


Yes.  The HBOC Society is aligned with HeritX, the first organization in the world whose sole purpose is to find less invasive ways to prevent hereditary cancer.

Do I have to pay for genetic testing, screening or preventative surgeries?


If you live in Canada, for the most part no.  However, if you do not fit the criteria for government-insured genetic testing you will have to pay for that service elsewhere.  In some regions, specialized services such as aerola tattooing may not be covered.

If you have a question, please contact us.

I thought this condition was only about breast cancer.  Why is it called the breast cancer gene?  


HBOC syndrome is about much more than breast cancer.  The Inherited mutations that cause breast cancer in women also cause breast cancer in men, and other types of cancer in both sexes, depending on the mutation carried.   The proper term is HBOC syndrome, which is increasingly being referred to as having 'risky genes' to be more inclusive and because there are many genes that, if mutated fall under the HBOC syndrome umbrella, and that number will continue to grow.  

I heard that hereditary cancer is being diagnosed at younger ages.  Is that true?


There is some targeted research that supports this to be true, with subsequent generations being diagnosed about 8 years younger than previous generations.

Is hereditary cancer different that spontaneous cancer?


Yes.  It is much more dangerous.  The gene mutations that cause hereditary cancer reduce one's ability to fend off or fight cancer.  Hereditary cancer is diagnosed more often and at younger ages in affected families.  Hereditary cancer has a higher rate of recurrence or a second primary cancer and tends to be more aggressive, making it harder to treat.  The predisposition to hereditary cancer can be passed down to children.  

I carry risky genes.  When should I start cancer screening?


The recommended age for early cancer screening may vary, depending on the region, but for the most part it is at 25 years of age.  In addition, this may be dependent on a variety of other factors including family history.