Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Breast cancer forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare. About 12 out of every 100 women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. Certain risk factors increase a woman's chance of getting breast cancer, including:

  • Your age; your risk increases slightly each decade after age 30.
  • Breast cancer among one or more of your close relatives, such as a sister, mother, or daughter.
  • Having no children or having your first child in your mid-thirties or later.
  • Having your first menstrual period before age 12.
  • Gaining weight after menopause, especially after natural menopause and/or after age 60.
  • Race. White women are at greater risk than black women. However, black women diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to die of the disease.

Five percent to 10 percent of all breast cancers are thought to be inherited.

Courtesy of the National Cancer Institute



Evaluating Your Risk

For most women, annual mammograms and breast examinations may be adequate to ensure early detection of breast cancer. For women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer because of family or personal history, a more comprehensive early detection program is necessary. Depending upon your concerns, our Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program or our Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program may be helpful in determining your risk. The cancer risk assessment programs are directed by Lisa Muto, DNP, WHNP-BC, APNG, OCN. Please email her or call 304-399-6572 with questions, or for more information.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program

The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program is specifically designed for women who have NOT had any breast health issues, such as abnormal mammograms, discharge, breast cancer, etc. It is only for women who may be at increased risk for breast cancer. The program offers women a comprehensive consultation, including an initial screening with a fellowship-trained surgical breast oncologist and the genetic nurse practitioner for a review of your medical and family history and a clinical breast exam. A risk assessment is completed, and a personalized screening program is developed for you. If other screenings or appointments with specialists are necessary, they will be set up for you.

Insurance is billed for the consultation. Patients must have a physician referral and meet specific criteria. You are welcome to contact the genetic nurse practitioner to discuss the criteria for enrollment in this program.

  • Page last updated: Dec 7, 2012
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