Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Health and medical researchers have identified several risk factors for breast cancer. Having one or more does not mean you will be diagnosed with the disease, but they are associated with an increased chance of developing breast cancer. For more information on risk factors, please visit the Health Information Center's Risk Factors for Breast Cancer. External Icon

Genetic Risk Factor

Genetic Counseling and Genetic Testing

Genetic counseling, includes a detailed family history evaluation and discussion, and is available to assess the likelihood of BRCA or other inherited gene mutation in the family.

If you are considering genetic testing, we strongly recommend that you first talk with our genetic counselor and physicians who are qualified to explain the potential benefits and results of testing, as well as discuss important issues such as risk to relatives, privacy and insurance, prior to deciding about testing. If you elect to pursue genetic testing, we will be available to assist you with this process.

Five to ten percent of breast cancers are associated with a hereditary gene (mutation). The most common known inherited breast cancer genes are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Overall, for a person who carries a BRCA gene mutation, there is an estimated 50% to 85% chance of developing breast cancer during a lifetime. In addition, those breast cancer survivors who carry a mutation in one of these genes have an increased risk of developing a second breast cancer or ovarian cancer. The gene mutation can be carried and passed on by either males or females. Men who carry a BRCA gene mutation have increased risks for certain cancers, including breast cancer. There are other less common genes that are associated with inherited risk for breast cancer, such as the TP53, PTEN and ATM genes.