My Risk for Breast Cancer

When evaluating if you are at an increased risk for breast cancer, multiple factors play a role – some are controllable, while others are not. With so many factors to consider, it can be difficult and confusing to determine what your own risk may be. You should consult with your physician to discuss your specific risks and appropriate plan for screening.

  • Gender – Women are at higher risk than men
  • Age – Risk increases with age
  • Personal History – Breast abnormalities (atypical hyperplasia) and/or cancer
  • Family History – Family history of breast or ovarian cancer, particularly the number of first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer
  • Menstrual Periods – Menstruation at a young age (younger than 12 years old), having gone through menopause at a late age (older than 55 years old)
  • Having Children – First pregnancy later in life (after age 30) or never having had a pregnancy
  • Prior Radiation Therapy – If you had radiation therapy to the chest as a child or young adult, such as for Hodgkin's Disease
  • Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES) – If you took DES (was given in the 1940s-60s, to try to decrease the chance of miscarriage) or if your mother took DES
  • Dense Breast Tissue – Increased breast density on mammography makes it more difficult to spot abnormalities
  • Alcohol – Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who drink no alcohol
  • Obesity – Being overweight or obese has been found to increase breast cancer risk, especially for women after menopause

For a referral to a Barnabas Health primary care physician or breast specialist, call 888-724-7123.