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Breast cancer risk management

Every person is at risk for breast cancer and the risk increases with age. A woman in the general population has about a 13 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. This means that one out of every eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. In average risk women, the risk is highest after age 60. A man in the general population has a very low risk for breast cancer, less than 1 percent. People with an inherited mutation in any of the genes listed below, have a higher-than-average risk for breast cancer. 

Breast cancer screening and risk reduction

There are different options for managing breast cancer risk, including:

Which option you choose for managing your breast cancer risk will depend on several factors, including:

  • your age
  • your gender
  • the presence of an inherited gene mutation
  • your personal and family history of cancer
  • other risk factors
  • personal preferences

There are different national expert guidelines for breast cancer risk management, which are based on your level of risk. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide on a risk management plan and schedule that is right for you. 

Genes linked to breast cancer risk 

Inherited mutations in the following genes have been linked to increased risk for breast cancer in women:

  • (only in people with neurofibromatosis)


Mutations in the following genes may also be linked to increased breast cancer risk. More research is needed to confirm a link to breast cancer and develop risk-management guidelines: 

  •  (only in people with a 657del5 mutation)

The following genes have been linked to an increased risk for male breast cancer:

Other factors linked to breast cancer risk

Factors such as diet, weight, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption hormone exposure, and environmental exposures can affect breast cancer risk in the general population and in people at high risk for cancer. More research is needed to understand how much these factors influence risk in people with inherited mutations.

Last updated December 21, 2022

Find Experts
Find Experts

Breast centers are healthcare centers that specialize in breast health. These centers include experts in prevention, screening, diagnosis, surgery and treatment of breast cancer. Comprehensive cancer centers are healthcare centers that focus on prevention, screening, diagnosis, surgery and treatment of many types of cancers. These centers often also include experts in supportive services, such as genetic counseling, integrative medicine, , mental health and nutritional services. The following resources can help you find a breast expert near you:

Register for the FORCE Message Boards to get referrals from other members. Once you register, you can post on the Find a Specialist board to connect with other people who share your situation. 

updated: 12/21/2022