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Are you at High Risk for Breast Cancer?

By now, many people are aware that having a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increases the risk of getting breast cancer. What about other factors that increase risk?

There are a number of things to consider, some of which we have control over and some of which we don’t.

Factors that are in the realm of our control include:

  • diet
  • exercise
  • alcohol intake
  • weight control
  • some environmental factors
  • lifestyle choices
  • taking certain drugs (such as post menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • some reproductive decisions

 Factors outside of our control include:

  • age
  • race
  • gender
  • age of 1st period
  • dense breast tissue
  • family history of breast cancer
  • prior exposure to certain drugs (such as DES)
  • having had previous chest radiation (such as for the treatment of Hodgkin Disease or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma)
  • having had “abnormal cells” on a previous breast biopsy
  • having an inherited genetic mutation (such as in BRCA or in another cancer susceptibility gene)

Should you be evaluated further?

Of the many factors that increase breast cancer risk, a few stand out and increase risk enough to warrant a more in-depth evaluation. If you have any of the following you would benefit from Cancer Risk Assessment:

  • a family history of breast cancer
  • a previous breast biopsy showing “abnormal” cells
  • previous chest wall radiation (e.g. – mantle) prior to age 30
  • a personal or family history suggestive of an inherited genetic mutation or a previously identified mutation is the family (such as in the BRCA genes or other cancer susceptibility genes)


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Sue Adams
Sue Adams

I am a DES baby i have dense breast and tested posotive for CHEK2. I had to have a hyterectomy due to A typical cells. I am opting for the propholactic masectomy the insurace company has approved this but the union my husband works for is trying to block it. Help


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