Health Library







Categories > Breast Health > Breast cancer

Are you at high risk for breast cancer?

Despite your best efforts—exercising, not smoking or drinking alcohol, eating right—you may still face a greater risk of breast cancer than the general population. According to the American Cancer Society, having any of the following factors puts you at high risk for breast cancer:

  • a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
  • a first-degree relative—mother, father, brother, sister or child—with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation if you have not had genetic testing yourself
  • a lifetime cancer risk of 20 percent or greater, according to risk assessment tools your healthcare provider may use
  • radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30
  • rare health conditions such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome; having any first-degree relatives with these syndromes also increases your risk

If you have any of these factors, your healthcare provider will talk to you about appropriate breast screenings—for example, mammograms and MRIs beginning at age 30—to carefully monitor your health.