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How Likely Am I To Get Breast Cancer

Understanding Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

Stage I Breast Cancer Diagnosis Story

Several breast cancer risk assessment tools have been developed to help a woman estimate her chance of developing breast cancer. The best studied is the Gail model, which is available on the National Cancer Institutes website at After you enter some personal and family information, including race/ethnicity, the tool provides you with a 5-year and lifetime estimate of the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Because it only asks for information about breast cancer in first-degree family members and does not include their ages at diagnosis, the tool works best at estimating risk in women without a strong inherited breast cancer risk. For some women, other ways of determining the risk of breast cancer may work better. For example, women with a strong family history of breast cancer risk should consider talking to a genetic counselor.

It is important to talk with your doctor about how to estimate your personal risk of breast cancer and to discuss risk-reducing or prevention options .

Example Of The Impact Of A Relative Risk

Using our example of the exercise study above, we can show how absolute risks affect the number of extra cases.

Inactive women have a 25 percent higher risk of breast cancer than active women .

Since older women are more likely to get breast cancer, a lack of exercise has a greater impact on breast cancer risk in older women than in younger women.

First, lets look at the women in the study ages 70-74 years.

The study finds 500 women per 100,000 who are inactive develop breast cancer in one year. This is the absolute risk for women with the risk factor, lack of exercise.

The study also shows 400 women per 100,000 who are active develop breast cancer in one year. This is the absolute risk for women without the risk factor.;

The relative risk is 1.25 for women who are inactive compared to those who are active.

Among women ages 70-74, being inactive led to 100 more cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women in one year .

Now lets look at the women in the study ages 20-29.

The study finds 5 women per 100,000 who were inactive developed breast cancer in one year. And, 4 women per 100,000 who were active got breast cancer.

Here again, the relative risk is 1.25.

However, in women ages 20-29, being inactive led to only 1 extra case of breast cancer per 100,000 women .

So, the same relative risk of 1.25 led to many more extra cases of breast cancer in the older women than in the younger women .

‘everything Was Shaken Up By Covid’

DAllevas medical team okayed her decision to postpone her surgery until June. In the meantime, she took tamoxifen, a hormonal therapy drug designed to keep the cancer from growing. But her weakened immune system made the pandemic even more isolating her family urged her not to leave her apartment at all. DAlleva lives alone with her two dogs, so even hitting the elevator button in her building seemed risky.;

Walking out of my door, who knows what Im going to get between now and when I walk over to the trash chute? she says. You have no idea what other people have, what you’re dealing with, what’s going on and what you could catch. And with COVID, as we heard in the news, people could be running around with it and not have any symptoms.;

Scientists are still studying whether cancer patients are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, but many of the risk factors for breast cancer also put people at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, explains Dr. Jill Dietz, the president of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.;

Geib still drives an hour each way to undergo treatment in Columbus. But now, if a family member or friend drives her there, they have to wait in the parking lot, sometimes for up to five hours without access to a bathroom. For me, theres a whole new anxiety and guilt factor. Its a whole new type of ask, Geib says. Its emotionally taxing on everybody.;

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Example Of Breast Cancer Risk Going Up

Many studies have shown that women who have two or more alcoholic drinks each day have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. You may hear this relative risk described as a percentage or a number:

  • Compared to women who do not drink, women who have two or more drinks per day have a 50% higher risk of breast cancer. Put another way, they are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer over the course of a lifetime than nondrinkers are. This doesnt mean that their lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 50% it means that their risk of getting breast cancer is 50% higher relative to people who dont drink. This percentage is how you are likely to see relative risk reported by television, the Internet, and newspapers.
  • Compared to women who do not drink, women who have two or more drinks per day have a relative risk of 1.5. This number is how researchers and scientific papers would usually talk about relative risk. The number 1 is assigned to the baseline group , since their risk remains the same. The .5 describes the relative increase in risk for the other group; it is another way of expressing the 50% higher lifetime risk .Another way of saying this is that women who drink two or more alcoholic drinks per day have 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink.

Who Gets Breast Cancer


The American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 231,840 new cases of and 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer in 2015. Nearly 150,000 people are living with in the United States. Anyone with breast can get breast cancer, even men.

People of all ethnicities get breast cancer.;People with different lifestyle habits and from different walks of life develop breast cancer. People with breast cancer can be fit or , vegetarians or meat-eaters, regular exercisers or couch potatoes.

What all people with breast cancer have in common are bad copies, or;mutations, in the DNA of their breast cells.;DNA;makes up the genes of a . It carries a set of directions that tell cells when to grow and how to stop growing.

These mutations can sometimes come from your mother or father at birth. More often, these mutations develop at some point in your life. Some people are more likely to develop a because cancers run in the family. Others who have been exposed to certain things during their lives are more likely to get a mutation. We are still learning about the causes of these mutations and why people get them.

Breast cancer is less common in women whose menstrual periods started at a later age, whose started early, who breastfed, who had children before age 30, who exercise and who are not overweight. But even these traits do not prevent breast cancerthey only give you some protection from developing it. Nothing can completely protect you.

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Over 90% Of Screening Mammograms Do Not Require Follow

About 92% of screening mammograms do not require additional follow-up imaging. One cannot generalize about the number of follow-up mammograms that will require biopsy, as this totally depends upon the specifics of the lesion in each individual case. However, it can be stated that about 60% to 70% of women who go through a call-back diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound, and, have imaging features abnormal enough to require a biopsy, will turn out to have benign breast disease only.

Your Race And Ethnicity

White and Black women have the highest risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latina womens breast cancer rates fall in between two major groupings while American Indian and Alaska Native women are on the lowest end of risk.

While white women are more likely to develop breast cancer than Black women overall, they tend to be diagnosed at an older age . Black women have the highest breast cancer rates among women under age 40. Black women make up a higher percentage of triple-negative breast cancer cases.

What to do: If your race or ethnicity places you at higher risk, make sure you follow all screening recommendations to improve your chances of catching cancer early.

Also Check: Where Does Breast Cancer Usually Spread

What Are The Most Common Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

The following risk factors have the strongest evidence behind them and are recognized as clearly affecting breast cancer risk, for better or worse.

To see more risk factors, including possible risk factors that are currently under study, visit Susan G. Komens website. There are also lots of things that are rumored to increase breast cancer risk but have been shown by research not to. Susan G. Komen has a list of those factors too.

Am I More At Risk If My Relatives Have Cancer

I Am a Breast Cancer Survivor. What Are the Chances of My Cancer Coming Back?

Some types of cancer can run in families. For example, your risks of developing certain types of breast cancer,;bowel cancer;or;ovarian cancer are higher if you have close relatives who developed the condition.

This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get cancer if some of your close family members have it, but that you may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers compared to other people.

It’s estimated that between 3 and 10 in every 100 cancers are associated with an inherited faulty gene.

Cancers caused by inherited faulty genes are much less common than those caused by other factors, such as ageing, smoking, being overweight and not exercising regularly, or not eating a healthy, balanced diet. Most cancers develop as a result of a combination of risk factors, which in some cases can include family history.

Some types of cancer are less likely to be genetic, such as;cervical cancer;and lung cancer.

It’s only likely that a cancer gene is present in a family if:

  • there are 2 or more close relatives on the same side of the family with the same type of cancer, or with particular types of cancer that are known to be linked; for example, breast and ovarian cancer or bowel and womb cancer
  • cancers are occurring at young ages
  • a close relative has had 2 different types of cancer

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In 3 Breast Cancers Are In Women Over 70

New national Be Clear on Cancer campaign targets older women to increase early diagnoses of breast cancer.

3 February 2014 See all updates

One in 3 women diagnosed with breast cancer in England each year are aged 70 or over. This age group also accounts for more than half of all breast cancer deaths annually, latest figures show. This age group also accounts for more than half of all breast cancer deaths annually, latest figures show.

This comes as Public Health England launches a new national Be Clear on Cancer campaign to remind older women dont assume youre past it, and to visit their doctor if they spot any changes in their breasts.

Surprisingly, two thirds of women aged 70 and over wrongly think women of all ages are equally likely to get breast cancer, when in fact a womans risk of breast cancer increases with age.

Around 13,500 women aged 70 and over are diagnosed with breast cancer in England each year, yet survival rates are lower in this age group compared to younger women. Lack of awareness of symptoms other than a lump, such as changes in the shape or size of the breast, is believed to be one of the reasons for this, which the campaign aims to change.

The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival more than 90% of all women diagnosed with the earliest stage survive for at least 5 years. This figure is around 15% for women diagnosed at a late stage.

What Is Different About Breast Cancer In Younger Women

  • Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women is more difficult because their breast tissue is generally denser than the breast tissue in older women, and routine screening is not recommended.
  • Breast cancer in younger women may be more aggressive and less likely to respond to treatment.
  • Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age are more likely to have genetic mutations predisposing them to breast and other cancers.
  • Younger women who have breast cancer may ignore the warning signssuch as a breast lump or unusual dischargebecause they believe they are too young to get breast cancer. This can lead to a delay in diagnosis and poorer outcomes.
  • Some healthcare providers may also dismiss breast lumps or other symptoms in young women or adopt a “wait and see” approach.
  • Breast cancer poses additional challenges for younger women as it can involve issues concerning sexuality, fertility, and pregnancy after breast cancer treatment.

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Metastatic Breast Cancer Statistics

The number of women under 40 being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is increasing.

Metastatic breast cancer means that the cancer has advanced to stage 4 and has moved beyond the breast tissue into other areas of the body, such as the bones or the brain. Survival rates are lower for cancer that has metastasized to other parts of the body.

According to the American Cancer Society , the 5-year survival rate for those with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is 27 percent for women of all ages. However, one found no significant differences in median survival rate between younger and older women with metastatic breast cancer.


What Causes Breast Cancer


Many different things can affect your chances of getting breast cancer.;

Theres no single cause. It results from a combination of the way we live our lives, our genes and our environment.;

We cant predict who will get breast cancer. And we cant confidently say what might have caused someones breast cancer.;

There are, however, some things you can do to lower your chances of getting it.

Also Check: How To Tell Your Family You Have Breast Cancer

Cancers Linked To Treatment With Tamoxifen

Taking tamoxifen lowers the chance of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer coming back. It also lowers the risk of a second breast cancer. Tamoxifen does, however, increase the risk for uterine cancer . Still, the overall risk of uterine cancer in most women taking tamoxifen is low, and studies have shown that the benefits of this drug in treating breast cancer are greater than the risk of a second cancer.

Relative Risks Greater Than 1

A relative risk between 1 and 1.99 may be presented in several ways.

For example, in the exercise study above, the relative risk was 1.25.

You may see:

  • Inactive women have a relative risk of 1.25 compared to active women.
  • Inactive women have a 25 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to active women.
  • Inactive women have a 1.25-fold increased risk of breast cancer compared to active women.

When a relative risk is 2 or more, its often presented as the number of times the risk is increased.

For example, women with atypical hyperplasia have a relative risk of about 4 compared to women without atypical hyperplasia.

You may see:

  • Women with atypical hyperplasia have 4 times the risk of breast cancer of women without atypical hyperplasia.
  • Theres a 4-fold increase in the risk of breast cancer among women with atypical hyperplasia compared to women without atypical hyperplasia.

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Can I Prevent Breast Cancer

While there is no definitive way to prevent breast cancer, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active and get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five or more days per week.
  • Eat a healthy diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; limit the amount of processed meat and red meat eaten.
  • Women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage daily .

Family History Of Prostate Cancer Seems To Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Can you get breast cancer after a mastectomy? And the longest 7 min of my life

About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child.

Genes are particles in cells, contained in chromosomes, made of DNA . DNA contains the instructions for building proteins. And proteins control the structure and function of all the cells that make up your body.

Think of your genes as an instruction manual for cell growth and function. Abnormalities in the DNA are like typographical errors. They may provide the wrong set of instructions, leading to faulty cell growth or function. In any one person, if there is an error in a gene, that same mistake will appear in all the cells that contain the same gene. This is like having an instruction manual in which all the copies have the same typographical error.

A study suggests that women with first-degree relatives who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer probably have a higher risk of breast cancer.

The research was published online on March 9, 2015 by the journal Cancer. Read the abstract of Familial clustering of breast and prostate cancer and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in the Womens Health Initiative Study.

In this study, the researchers looked at the records of 78,171 women in the WHI Observational Study who had never been diagnosed with breast cancer when they enrolled in the study. By 2009, 3,506 breast cancers had been diagnosed in the women.

The results showed:

  • maintaining a healthy weight

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