Hereditary Breast Cancer

Know Your Family History

It is important to know your family history. You should investigate who has had breast cancer on both your mother’s and father’s side of the family. A family history of any of the following may be a sign of hereditary cancer:

Hereditary Breast Cancer

A relative with:

  • Bilateral breast cancer (cancer in both breasts)
  • Breast and ovarian cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • A BRCA mutation

Two relatives with:

  • Breast cancer (one before age 50)
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • One with breast cancer and one with ovarian cancer

Three relatives with:

  • Breast cancer at any age

Personal Cancer History

Your personal cancer history also affects your risk. Any of these events in your personal history could be a sign of hereditary breast or ovarian cancer:

  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
  • You have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer at any age
  • You have been diagnosed with breast cancer more than once
  • You have been diagnosed with both breast and ovarian cancer
  • You have been diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer at any age, and you are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Central or Eastern European)
  • You have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you have a family member with breast or ovarian cancer

Genetic Testing

If you are concerned about your family history, you should meet with a genetic counselor or another qualified health care professional.

Important things to know:

  • Most breast and ovarian cancers are not caused by these genetic changes
  • Most people don’t need to be tested for the BRCA 1/2 gene
  • If there is a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, meeting with a genetic counselor may be helpful
  • Health insurance may not always cover the cost of testing
  • Genetic testing is most useful if first performed on someone in the family who has had breast or ovarian cancer

Breast Cancer Risk

Breast Cancer Risk

Breast Cancer Risks

Breast Cancer Risks

Women in the U.S. General Population

Breast Cancer Risks About 7 out of 100 women in the U.S. general population will get breast cancer by the age of 70

Breast Cancer Risks About 93 out of 100 of these women will NOT get breast cancer by age 70

Women with a BRCA1/2 Genetic Change

Breast Cancer Risks About 50 out of 100 women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic change will get breast cancer by the age of 70

Breast Cancer Risks About 50 out of 100 of these women will NOT get breast cancer by age 70

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

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Ovarian Cancer Risk

Breast Cancer Risks

Breast Cancer Risks

Women in the U.S. General Population

Breast Cancer Risks About 1 out of 100 women in the U.S. general population will get ovarian cancer by the age of 70

Breast Cancer Risks About 99 out of 100 of these women will NOT get ovarian cancer by age 70

Women with a BRCA1/2 Genetic Change

Breast Cancer Risks About 30 out of 100 women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic change will get ovarian cancer by the age of 70

Breast Cancer Risks About 70 out of 100 of these women will NOT get ovarian cancer by age 70

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control