Saskatchewan Breast Cancer Connect

Hereditary Breast Cancer

What is HBOC Syndrome?

HBOC syndrome stands for ‘hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome’.  We define HBOC syndrome as any condition that causes a proven or obvious hereditary predisposition to higher-than-general-population rates of breast OR ovarian cancer and any of the related cancers.  We often simplify the term by calling it ‘risky genes’.

What are the chances that my Breast Cancer is Hereditary?

About 5 to 10% of all breast cancer cases are hereditary. Abnormal genes (or gene mutations) that greatly increase breast and ovarian cancer risk are passed on from parent to child within some families. 

Should I get Genetic Testing?

There are many reasons why people decide to have genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Typically, it is because they have a personal and family history of cancer and want to know if they are at risk of developing hereditary cancer. Some people feel that knowing their risk for developing cancer allows them to make informed decisions about health management. It may also allow other family members to do the same.

Where is Genetic Testing done?

There is one genetic testing facility in Saskatchewan. The Royal University Hospital Medical Genetics Facility conducts genetic testing for many different cancers, but the most common referral is for the the BRCA 1 & 2 genes.

If you have a family history of cancer, you may seek a referral from a healthcare professional. You will be referred to a genetic counsellor before deciding if genetic testing is right for you.

Royal University Hospital Medical Genetics
Saskatoon Health Region
Room 515 Ellis Hall, 103 Hospital Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0W8
Tel: 306-655-1692
Fax: 306-655-1736

Where can I learn more?

For additional information, visit these agencies:


Sources for Information

  • Willow Hereditary

    Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support was founded in 1994 as a national, not-for-profit organization. Willow provides free-of-cost support, insight and information to anyone affected by breast cancer or hereditary cancer.


    HBOC Society

    The Hereditary Breast and Ovarian (HBOC) Society is a charitable, non-profit organization which represents, educates and supports individuals, families and communities impacted by the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome.

  • Risky Genes

    Risky genes can be passed down through the generations. They dramatically increase the risk of some types of cancer, often hitting at a young age.