Which family history factors increase the risk for breast cancer?

Updated: Sep 23, 2020
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

The family history characteristics that suggest increased risk of cancer are summarized as follows:

  • Two or more relatives with breast or ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer occurring in an affected relative younger than 50 years
  • Relatives with both breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  • One or more relatives with two cancers (breast and ovarian cancer or 2 independent breast cancers)
  • Male relatives with breast cancer
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations
  • Ataxia telangiectasia heterozygotes (quadrupled risk)
  • Ashkenazi Jewish descent (doubled risk)

A small percentage of patients, usually with a strong family history of other cancers, have cancer syndromes. These include families with a mutation in the PTEN, TP53, MLH1, MLH2, CDH1, or STK11 gene.


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