Hereditary Breast Cancer

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Breast Cancer Risk, Risk Management and Treatment

Breast Cancer Risk

Who is at risk for breast cancer?

Every person is at risk for breast cancer. The average lifetime risk for breast cancer in women is about 13 percent. This means that one out of every eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime, usually after age 60. Men can get breast cancer, however, the average risk for male breast cancer is very low, less than 1 percent. People with an inherited mutation in the genes listed below have a higher-than-average risk for breast cancer, often at a younger age. The risk varies based on multiple factors, including:

  • age
  • gender
  • presence of a gene mutation
  • personal and family history of cancer
  • other risk factors

Can breast cancer be hereditary?

About 10 percent of people with breast cancer have an inherited mutation linked to increased cancer risk. Inherited mutations in the genes below increase the risk for breast cancer and can cause cancer to run in families. Some of these genes also increase the breast cancer risk in men and people assigned male at birth.

Breast Cancer In Women
Male Breast Cancer

Other inherited mutations increase the risk of breast cancer. Most of these are rare. 

What else affects 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.

Risk Management and Treatment

Risk management

People at high risk for breast cancer have different options for managing breast cancer risk, including:

  • breast screening
  • medications to reduce risk
  • surgery to reduce risk

National expert guidelines for breast cancer risk management vary by gene mutation and level of risk. Click on the button below to learn more about these guidelines. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide on a risk-management plan and schedule that is right for you.


People diagnosed with breast cancer may have different treatment options based on:

  • stage
  • subtype
  • genetic testing results 
  • biomarker testing results 

Click on the button below to learn more about these treatment options. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide on a treatment plan that is right for you.

Last updated June 29, 2024