Know Your Risk

There are many risk factors linked to breast cancer. The two most common, being a woman and getting older, are beyond your control. But some things, like exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting your alcohol consumption, are within your power. Understanding risk and its factors can help you make decisions about your lifestyle and, working with your health care provider, determine a breast cancer screening plan that’s right for you.  Click here for a list of questions to ask your doctor when discussing your risk of breast cancer. 

Risk factors can be related to your genetics, family history, environment, lifestyle choices, or your personal health history.  Please visit Komen Headquarters’ website for a full discussion on risk factors.

 FORCE

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FORCE stands for “Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered.”  FORCE is an organization for those with hereditary risks for breast and ovarian cancers.  They provide education, support, advocacy, and a community of understanding for survivors, family, and friends affected by breast and ovarian cancer.  For more information, please visit FORCE’s website.

Genetic Testing

Most breast cancers are not related to genes or family history. In fact, only five to 10 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are thought to be hereditary.1-3 However, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may worry about the risk to your family members. And, if a family member has been diagnosed, you may worry about your own risk. So, who really needs to be concerned about this and who should consider genetic testing? Furthermore, if you do have a breast cancer gene mutation or a strong family history, what can you do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer?

Talking to your health care provider is the best way to understand your (or your family’s) risk of hereditary breast cancer. For more information on the basics of hereditary breast cancer and genetic testing, visit Komen’s website here.