Most women who get breast cancer don’t have it in their family

  • 5 to 10% of breast cancer is hereditary and caused by mutations (changes) in genes.
  • Having one or more close relatives (sister, mother, daughter, or grandmother/aunt on either side) who have been diagnosed with breast cancer increases a woman's risk of getting the disease, particularly if more than one relative is affected, and the affected relative(s) were diagnosed at a young age. If this is the situation in your family or if you are concerned about any cancers in your family, talk to your GP.

Sources:

The National Medical Genetics Centre, Crumlin, has information on hereditary breast cancer to download at www.genetics.ie/clinical

Irish Cancer Society. Action Breast Cancer.  Helpline: 1800 200 700 www.cancer.ie/action

Breakthrough Breast Cancer has a good publication on Risk at www.breakthrough.org.uk which lists risk under the headings Established, Possible and Doubtful.

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Irish Breast Cancer Charter9 things you should know about breast cancer (PDF 478KB)