Are you at increased risk for breast cancer because of your family history?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, and about 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. About 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year, according to The American Cancer Society, and more than 39,500 will die from the disease.

While the good news is that most women will never develop breast cancer, women with close relatives who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer do have a higher risk of developing the disease. The risk is doubled for women who have one first-degree female relative diagnosed with breast cancer, such as a sister, mother or daughter. If two first-degree relatives have been diagnosed, the risk is 5 times higher than average. The risk also is elevated if your family medical history includes ovarian or colon cancer, a male relative diagnosed with breast cancer, or a female relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age.

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