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Are you at High Risk for Breast Cancer?

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The risk of getting breast cancer varies significantly from person to person. Some women are at high risk, some are not.

How do you know if you are at high risk?

You are at high risk for breast cancer if you:

  • Have a strong family history of breast cancer.
  • Carry the BRCA (BReast CAncer susceptibility gene) or other breast cancer-associated mutations.
  • Have relatives who carry the BRCA or other breast cancer risk genes.
  • Have a family member who developed breast cancer before age 50.
  • Have a male relative who had breast cancer.
  • Have a family history of ovarian cancer or bilateral breast cancers.
  • Have had chest wall radiation (often for Hodgkin's disease) between ages 10 and 30.
  • Have had breast cancer previously.
  • Have a history of biopsy-proven atypical results that indicate you may be at risk for breast cancer.

Additionally, the risk of breast cancer is significantly higher in women who:

  • Are overweight
  • Have an unhealthy diet
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Consume significant amounts of alcohol

Follow These 4 Steps to Take Charge of your Breast Health

  • If you have any of the family history factors outlined above, consider genetic evaluation and counseling through the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Risk Evaluation Program (CREP) at Lancaster General Health.
  • If you do not have any of these high risk criteria, take our online Breast Cancer Risk Profiler to better understand your personal risk.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a healthy weight. Eat a healthy diet. Do not smoke cigarettes. Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Get your mammogram.
author name

Randall A. Oyer, MD

Randall A. Oyer, MD, is medical director of the Cancer and Cancer Risk Evaluation programs at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute and a physician with LG Health Physicians LG Health Physicians.

Education: Medical School–Georgetown University School of Medicine; Residency and fellowship–Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Call: 717-544-9400

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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