If your mother has breast cancer, you are more likely to develop it yourself. According to the Common Breast Cancer Foundation, knowing your family history, understanding your personal risks, getting appropriate screening tests and lifestyle choices are important steps towards better breast health.

“If you have breast cancer in your family, you understand your risk and are important to your health and mental health,” said Cheryl Perkins, senior clinical consultant at the Komen Foundation.

Family history and

Increased risk

If your mother, sister or daughter has breast cancer, the risk of this disease is two to three times higher than a woman with no family history. However, increasing the risk of breast cancer does not guarantee that you will develop the disease.

Talk to your provider to discuss your personal risk and its recommendations for routine screening. Routine screening usually includes mammography, clinical breast examination and breast self-examination. Additional research is recommended based on your personal risk.

Genetic mutation and

Genetic testing

Only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers are hereditary. Genetic testing can determine if you inherit the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which are important mutations in the development of certain breast cancers. However, having a mutated gene does not guarantee that you will get breast cancer. If you have concerns about your family history and personal risk, talk to your doctor about whether genetic testing is right for you.

Taking preventative measures – making healthy lifestyle choices

Many factors increase a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer. While some risks, such as being a woman and aging, are beyond your control, others can be managed. For example, risk factors such as alcohol, lack of exercise and being overweight are factors you can modify.

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