By undergoing genetic testing for her breast cancer risk, Keri Forsythe-Stephens, editor of CLP‘s sister brands 24X7 and AXIS, discovered that she had a mutation of the gene, CHEK2, which made her more susceptible to developing breast cancer. This knowledge gave her the ability to be proactive and not reactive about her health.

CHEK2 serves the body as a tumor suppressor, but when it’s mutated, it can be linked to numerous cancers. It is considered a more moderate-risk gene mutation.

Today, most people have likely heard of BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2 for good reason — they confer a much higher risk of developing breast cancer. Up to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary, harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants are found in 3%-4%; and 1%-2% of those are linked to CHEK2, noted Beth N. Peshkin, the director of genetic counseling at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

In total, there are 11 breast cancer predisposition genes with BRCA1 and BRCA2 carrying the highest risk.

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