The Mammo Minute – What are my chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer?

Dr. Arthy Saravanan addresses the frequently asked question: “What are my chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer?”

Hi, my name is Dr. Arthy Saravanan, and I’m the chief of the Breast Imaging Section at Austin Radiological Association. Welcome to “The Mammo Minute.”

Today, we’re talking about “What are my chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer?”

The risk of developing breast cancer is about 13%, which means about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. The great news is that 98% of women survive breast cancer when it’s diagnosed early by a mammogram.

Your chance of getting breast cancer can vary depending on your race or ethnicity. Black women are at a slightly higher risk and also have the highest death rate from breast cancer. So, we encourage you to be diligent in breast self-examination, yearly exams with your doctor, and screening mammograms starting at the age of 40. In fact, we encourage that for all women!

You may have a higher risk for breast cancer depending on your health, history and family background. Some families carry genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, and specific groups, including Ashkenazi Jewish and Nigerian people, are at a higher risk for carrying BRCA mutations.

You may also be at a higher risk if close relatives have had breast cancer or ovarian cancer. The best way to find out about your risk is to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about your health history and any known genetic mutations in your family. If you have risk factors, your provider may recommend starting screening mammograms before the age of 40 and having genetic testing to help determine your hereditary risk.

Thank you for listening, and remember to get your screening mammogram starting at the age of 40, and yearly thereafter.

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