No Family History of Breast Cancer Means No Risk for Breast Cancer? That’s a Myth!


Did you know that the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no immediate family history? Only about 13 percent of women diagnosed have an immediate female relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer. The two most significant risk factors for breast cancer are being female and getting older.

Although everyone is at risk for breast cancer, a woman who has one immediate female relative with breast cancer has almost twice the risk of a woman without a family history. If she has more than one immediate female relative with a history of breast cancer, her risk is about three to four times higher. 

Only 5-10% percent of breast cancer cases in the U.S. are from an inherited genetic mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. Most breast cancer cases are due to a spontaneous gene mutation, an error in a gene that has occurred in a single cell during your lifetime.

The causes of breast cancer are not known. Breast cancer can happen to anyone, even if it’s not in your family history.

Know your risk:

  • Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

Learn more about breast cancer risk factors.

Review Komen’s breast health self-awareness messages.



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