By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – According to a report in the Journal Cancer, women with mutations in BRCA genes – these are the genes that are associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer – actually many undergo menopause earlier compared to women without the mutations.

This is work done at the University of California-San Francisco and it compared the beginning of menopause in about 400 white female carriers of BRCA gene mutations with 756 women in the same reason without the mutations. They found that the women with the BRCA mutations experience menopause at a younger age. The median age is about 50 years compared to 53 years of age.

This does not mean someone who experiences menopause earlier is at greater risk for breast or ovarian cancer. But it does show the association in this case.