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Concerned
About My Risk

If you are uncertain about your own risk of breast cancer, it can help to learn about the known risk factors and steps you can take to lower your risk as much as possible.

Everyone has some risk of developing breast cancer, but there are many factors that can increase or decrease each individual person’s breast cancer risk.

If you are uncertain about your own risk of breast cancer, it can help to learn about the known risk factors and steps you can take to lower your risk as much as possible. Or if you know you have a higher risk of breast cancer due to factors such as a strong family cancer history or an inherited genetic mutation, you can learn more about those risk factors and risk reduction treatments that may be available to you.

 

U.S. breast cancer facts and statistics

The most current statistics about breast cancer in the United States can help you understand how common the disease is, who is at risk, and how breast cancer rates have changed over time.

In the United States, the average woman’s breast cancer risk is about 13%, meaning about one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. A man’s risk is much lower, but about 1 in 833 men will get breast cancer in his lifetime.

Read the most current U.S. breast cancer statistics.

 

Breast cancer risk factors

There are a variety of factors that affect your breast cancer risk. Some you can’t change, such as being a woman, growing older, and inheriting a gene mutation linked to breast cancer. But you can change other risk factors — such as being overweight, not exercising regularly, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or eating unhealthy food — by making healthier lifestyle choices.

Learn more about known breast cancer risk factors and the steps you can take to lower your risk.

Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk

Nov. 5, 2021
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Breast Cancer Risk and Race

Sep. 17, 2020
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Family history and genetics

You have a higher risk of developing breast cancer if you have close relatives who've been diagnosed with the disease, particularly first-degree relatives, such as your sisters, mother, or daughters. Your risk increases if you have multiple close relatives who have had breast cancer, and if a first-degree male relative (your brother or father) has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

In some cases, a strong family history of breast cancer is linked to having an abnormal gene associated with a high risk of breast cancer, such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Genetic testing can confirm if your family cancer history is linked to a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer. Learn more at Genetic Testing.

If you have a strong family history or an inherited genetic mutation that puts you at high risk for breast cancer, you and your doctor can discuss more frequent screening, or several options for reducing your risk, including:

Dense breasts

If your doctor tells you that you have dense breasts, it means that you have more fibrous and glandular tissue and less fatty tissue than women who don't have dense breasts. Women with dense breasts may have a higher risk of breast cancer, and dense breasts make it more difficult for doctors to see breast cancers on mammograms.

Learn more at Dense Breasts.

 

Understanding breast cancer risk

Everyone has some risk of developing breast cancer. An individual person’s breast cancer risk may be higher or lower, depending on specific risk factors. If you and your doctor have not discussed your personal risk of breast cancer, it’s a good idea to bring it up at your next appointment. In the meantime, you can learn more about how to understand breast cancer risk statistics and what they may mean for your individual risk.

Learn more at Understanding Breast Cancer Risk.

 

Exercise, nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight

Regular exercise is an important part of being as healthy as you can be. More and more research is showing that exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

Learn more at Exercise.

Learn more at Diet and Nutrition.