Risk Management & Treatment

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.


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 an increased risk for breast cancer in women (click on the gene to learn more about the breast cancer risk associated with each):

  • NBN (only in people with a 657del5 mutation)
  • NF1
  • BRCA1 (frequently linked to triple-negative breast cancer)
  • CDH1  (frequently linked to lobular breast cancer)


More research is needed to confirm a link to breast cancer and develop risk-management guidelines for people with mutations in these genes. 

Men with inherited mutations in the following genes have an increased risk for 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.

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Last updated September 13, 2020