Geneticist Links Mutation with Breast Cancer

On May 19, Dr. Mary-Claire King, University of Washington geneticist and Susan G. Komen grantee, was honored with the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama.

Barack Obama, Mary-Claire King

Dr. King was honored for her outstanding contributions to medical science and breast cancer research, including the discovery of BRCA1 – a gene that when mutated dramatically increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Today, about 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers are linked to an inherited gene mutation. Dr. King is also well-known for advocating the expanded use of genetic screening for breast and ovarian cancer. She recommends that all adult women in the U.S. get tested for genetic mutations that can cause cancer, beginning at about age 30.

King Blog Post Photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with breast cancer advocacy organizations (including Susan G. Komen) created an online tool called Know: BRCA. This tool can help younger women assess their risk of having a BRCA mutation. Click here to learn more.