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Breast Cancer Risk


For women with an average risk

Image showing risk of breast cancer for the average woman

Most women have an average risk of breast cancer. About 12 out of 100 women will get breast cancer.

[Chart based on National Cancer Institute (2010). SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast from SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2007. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Available online: http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html.]

For women who have one relative with breast cancer

Image showing risk of breast cancer for a woman with one relative

If a woman in your family—such as a mother, a sister, or a daughter—has had breast cancer, your risk of getting it is a littler higher than women who don't have a family history of the disease. About 24 out of 100 women with a family relative who has had breast cancer will get this cancer.

[Chart based on American Cancer Society (2011). Breast cancer: Early detection. Available online: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003165-pdf.pdf.]

For women who have two relatives with breast cancer

Image showing risk of breast cancer for a woman with two relatives

If 2 relatives in your family have had breast cancer, your risk for getting it goes up. About 36 out of 100 women with 2 family relatives who have had breast cancer will get this cancer.

[Chart based on American Cancer Society (2011). Breast cancer: Early detection. Available online: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003165-pdf.pdf.]

For women who have BRCA gene changes

Image showing risk of breast cancer for a woman carrying BRCA gene

Of all the women who get breast cancer, only a few will have inherited BRCA gene changes. The lifetime risk for getting breast cancer for these women is much higher than average. For these women, from 35 to 84 out of 100 women will get breast cancer.

[Chart based on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2005). Genetic risk assessment and BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility: Recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 143(5): 355–361.]

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDouglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
Last RevisedJune 28, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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