Know Your Breast Cancer Risk

Whether you are a Komen volunteer, a Race participant, a donor, a Survivor, or someone who has helped a friend following a diagnosis, we appreciate your support of the breast cancer movement. Now, we want you to do something for you. Educate yourself about your own risk of breast cancer, pass along the information to friends and then get screened! Early detection saves lives. And that is what we are all about.

Susan G. Komen recommends that you:

Know your risk

  • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

The two most significant risk factors for developing breast cancer are being female and getting older.

A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer increases with age. Your chance by your current age is:

Age 20 1 in 1,760
Age 30 1 in 229
Age 40 1 in 69
Age 50 1 in 42
Age 60 1 in 29
Age 70 1 in 27
Lifetime 1 in 8

Source: American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Facts and Figures, 2009-2010

Genetics and Breast Cancer

Inherited gene mutations, including mutations in the genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, account for only about 5 to 10 percent of all cases of breast cancer, while most breast cancers are due to spontaneous gene mutations.

Who has mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2?

The likelihood that you have mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes is greater if one or more of the following statements is true for you:

• You are younger and have been diagnosed with breast cancer (below age 50)

• Your mother, sister or daughter has had breast cancer before age 50 or ovarian cancer at any age

• A woman in your family has had both breast cancer and ovarian cancer

• A woman in your family has had breast cancer in both breasts

• Your family is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent

• A male in your family has had breast cancer

Remember, most women who get breast cancer do not have an inherited gene mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. All women should be screened with routine mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Get more information about risk factors online.