Georgia's Online Cancer Information Center

Breast & Ovarian Cancer Screening

What is Hereditary Breast & Ovarian Cancer (HBOC)?

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer is a condition in which breast and ovarian cancer “runs” in the family. Breast Cancer Gene 1 and 2 (BRCA1 & BRCA2) are two genes that normally protect against certain types of cancer (tumor suppressor genes). A mutation in these genes can cause HBOC.

Georgia CORE's website, has information about HBOC, genetic risk assessment, cancer genetic counseling services, and Georgia CORE's public health genetics program funded by the Georgia Department of Public Health. It also houses The Breast Cancer Genetics Referral Screening Tool (B-RSTTM), a screening tool that uses family history to quickly identify who would benefit from genetic counseling about HBOC. Performing the screen takes less than five minutes, requires no previous knowledge of HBOC, and provides instant results. The B-RSTTM tool was highlighted by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) as a tool that is “particularly simple and quick to administer.”

B-RSTTM Snapshot

  • Developed and validated by Cecelia Bellcross, PhD, MS, CGC, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics. (Genetics in Medicine 2009;11:783 and Genetics in Medicine 2010;12:240)
  • Six-question instrument that assists in identifying people who are at increased risk of HBOC and should be referred for cancer genetic counseling.
  • Easy to perform with high sensitivity and specificity compared to other widely used risk-assessment models.

You may be at high risk if you or a family member has/had any of these RED FLAGS:

  • Triple negative breast cancer age 60 or younger
  • Breast cancer age 50 or younger
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • Both breast and ovarian cancer
  • Two different breast cancers
  • Male breast cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry and breast or pancreatic cancer diagnosed at any age
  • Breast cancer age 50 or younger with fmaily history of related cancers (prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, testicular, melanoma)
  • A known mutation in a cancer susceptibility 
3 things you should KNOW about HBOC   3 things that can HELP lower your risk for HBOC
  • We ALL have the BReast CAncer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2)
  • Cancer risks increase when there is a mutation in the BRCA genes
  • Mutations can be passed down from either parent
  • Be aware of the RED FLAGS of HBOC
  • Talk to your family about your family's history of cancer
  • Find out your individual risk at

What are your options if you are at high risk for HBOC?

Identifying if you are at high risk for HBOC may help prevent a second cancer from developing, and may also prevent other family members from developing cancer. A range of care and treatment options are available for individuals at high risk for HBOC. Every person is different and a care plan should be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional. 

Life Style Changes: Consider individual behavior changes such as adding 5 or more fruits/vegetables to your diet each day, or increasing exercise to improve your overall health.

Enhanced Screening: Increase self-breast exams, clinical breast exams, mammograms, ultrasounds, and/or MRIs.

Chemoprevention: Ask your healthcare provider about oral medications to help decrease your risk for breast cancer.

Risk Reduction Surgery: Ask your healthcare provider about the various operations that remove body tissue (such as breasts) that may be at risk for developing cancer.

Resources are available for more information:



Bright Pink:

BRSTTM: BRSTTM summary & guidelines

HBOC: Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Brochure

Screening & Genetics

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Georgia CORE is a public-private partnership that creates collaboration among the state’s cancer organizations and institutions to connect more Georgians to quality, personalized cancer care. We welcome you to this one-of-a-kind online information center for all things related to cancer and survivorship care in Georgia.