Strongest Risk Factors


Individuals who are born with alterations in one of two familial breast cancer genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, are at higher risk for breast, ovarian, and some other cancers. Women with an inherited alteration in either BRCA1 or BRCA2 can have up to an 80% chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Additionally, alterations in other genes, including p53, PTEN, and CHK2, increase the risk of breast cancer, though to a lesser degree than alterations in BRCA1 or BRCA2

For more on genetic risk, counseling, and testing, including preventive options for women known to be at high risk for inherited breast cancer, click here.

High-Dose Radiation Exposure

Women who were given radiation for postpartum mastitis, received prolonged fluoroscopic X-rays for tuberculosis or were exposed to a large amount of radiation before age 30 – usually as treatment for cancers such as lymphoma – are at increased risk.