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Increased risk

What Does 'Increased Risk' Mean to Me?

Understandably, women can become very anxious when they are told that they have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. It should be remembered that the normal risk of breast cancer for a woman aged 30-50 years is 1 in 1000 per year. If your risk were to double it would be 1 in 500 per year; in other words, one woman in every 500 would develop breast cancer within 1 year.

Risk factorIncrease in risk of breast cancer
Age × 10 (in the very elderly)
Family history × 2–9
Country × 5 (in Western countries)
Cancer in the other breast × 5
Early menses (before 11 years) × 3
Late pregnancy (1st child after 40 years) × 3
Late menopause (after 53 years) × 2
Obesity after the menopause × 2
Contraceptive pill (4+ years when young) × 2
Social Class I & II × 2
Radiation × 1.5–3.0
Previous benign breast biopsy × 1.5
HRT (10+ years) × 1.5
High alcohol intake × 1.1–2.0