Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (other than skin cancer). The American Cancer Society reports the breast cancer death rate is declining, probably due to earlier detection and improved treatment. This short assessment will help you determine if you have major risk factors for breast cancer. It is not a complete assessment of all risks. For a complete evaluation of your risks, see your health care provider.

2. What is your ethnic group?
5. At what age did you have your first menstrual period?
6. If you are past menopause, how old were you when menopause began?
7. Have you had one or more children?
8. If you have had a child, how old were you when your first child was born?
9. Do you drink more than seven drinks a week?
10. Do you smoke?
11. If any women in your family have had breast cancer, check her relationship to you (check all that apply)
12. Was your mother, sibling or child diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50?
13. Have you had or do you have uterine cancer?
14. Have you had or do you have ovarian cancer?

References for Breast Cancer

  1. Seidman H, Mushinski MH, Gelb SK, et al. Probabilities of eventually developing or dying of cancer: United States, 1985. CA Cancer J Clin. 1985; 35: 36-56. (data from SEER Program)
  2. Bain C, Speizer FE, Rosner B, et al. Family history of breast cancer as a risk indicator for the disease. Am J Epidemiology. 1980; 111:301-308.
  3. Dupont WD, Page DL. Risk factors for breast cancer in women with proliferative breast disease. N Engl J Med. 1985; 312:146-151.
  4. Henderson BE. Endogenous and exogenous endocrine factors. In: Henderson IC, ed. Endogenous and Exogenous Endocrine Factors. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co; 1989:577-598.
  5. Henderson HI. Breast Cancer. In: Murphy GP, Lawrence W, Lenhard RE, ed. American Cancer Society Textbook of Clinical Oncology. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 1995:198-219.
  6. Steinburg KK, Thacker SB, Smith SJ, et al. A meta-analysis of the effect of estrogen replacement therapy on the risk of breast cancer. JAMA. 1991; 265-1985-1990.
  7. Romieu I, Berlin JA, Colditz G. Oral Contraceptives and breast cancer,: review and meta-analysis. Cancer. 1990;66:2253-2263.
  8. Sanchez MA Ethnic differences in risk and prognosis factors for breast cancer. Cancer, 1996 Feb 1;77(3):593-4.
  9. Trentham-Dietz A, Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, Baron J, Greenberg ER, Willett C. Body size and risk of breast cancer, Am J Epidemiol 1997 Jun 1;145(11):1011-9.
  10. Longnecker MP, Berlin JA, Orza MJ, Chalmers TC. A meta-analysis of alcohol consumption in relation to risk of breast cancer. JAMA. 1988; 260:652-656.
  11. Kuerer HM, Cunningham JD, Brower ST, Tartter PI Breast carcinoma associated with pregnancy and lactation. Surg Oncol, 1997 Aug;6(2):93.
  12. Lambe M, Hsieh CC, Tsaih SW, Ekbom A, Trichopoulos D, Adami HO Parity, age at first birth and the risk of carcinoma in situ of the breast. Int J Cancer 1998 Jul 29;77(3):330-2.
  13. Re A, Taylor TH, DiSaia PJ, Anton-Culver H Risk for breast and colorectal cancers subsequent to cancer of the endometrium in a population-based case series. Gynecol Oncol, 1997 Aug;66(2):255-7.
  14. Snyderwine EG, et al., Diet and mammary gland carcinogenesis, Recent Results Cancer Res 1998;152:3-10.
  15. Gammon MD, John EM, Britton JA. Recreational and occupational physical activities and risk of breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst, 1998 Jan 21;90(2):100-17.
  16. Crabbe WW, The tamoxifen controversy. Oncol Nurs Forum, 1996 Jun;23(5):761-6.
  17. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Breast Cancer Screening. 2002. Accessed on the World Wide Web at
  18. American Cancer Society. Detailed Guide: Breast Cancer. Can Breast Cancer Be Found Early?. 2003 Oct. Accessed on the World Wide Web at
  19. American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about breast cancer? Accessed on the World Wide Web at
  20. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. What You Need To Know About Breast Cancer. 2003 Sept. Accessed on the World Wide Web at
  21. National Cancer Institute. Lifetime Probability of Breast Cancer in American Women. 2002 Sept. Accessed on the World Wide Web at NCI
  22. Sinha R. An epidemiologic approach to studying heterocyclic amines. Mutat Res. 2002 Sep 30;506-507:197-204.
  23. Gerber B, Muller H, Reimer T, Krause A, Friese K. Nutrition and lifestyle factors on the risk of developing breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2003 May;79(2):265-76.
  24. Zhu J, Chang P, Bondy ML, Sahin AA, Singletary SE, Takahashi S, Shirai T, Li D. Detection of 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]-pyridine-DNA adducts in normal breast tissues and risk of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 Sep;12(9):830-7.
  25. Mayo Clin Womens Healthsource. Well-done meat linked to breast cancer risk. 1999. Feb;3(2):3.
  26. National Institute on Aging. Senior Health, Breast Cancer, Causes and Risk Factors. 2003 Oct. Accessed on the World Wide Web at
  27. Brekelmans CTM, Seynaeve C, Bartels CCM, Tilanus-Linthorst MMA, Meijers-Heijboer EJ, Crepin CMG, van Geel AN, Menke M, Verhoog LC, Van den Ouweland A, Obdeijn IM, Klijn JGM. Effectiveness of breast cancer surveillance in BRCA1/2 gene mutation carriers and women with high familial risk. J Clin Oncol 2001; 19(4): 924-930.
  28. Pritchard KI. Clinical practice guidelines for the care and treatment of breast cancer: 14. The role of hormone replacement therapy in women with a previous diagnosis of breast cancer. CMAJ 2002 Apr; 166(8): 1017-22.
  29. Falkenberry S, Legare R. RISK FACTORS FOR BREAST CANCER. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics 2002 Mar; 29(1).
  30. Verloop J, Rookus MA, van de Kooy K, van Leeuwen FE. Physical activity and breast cancer risk in women aged 20-54 years. J Natl Cancer Instit 2000; 92: 128-135.
  31. Lee SH. An increased risk of breast cancer after delayed first parity. Am J Surg - 01-OCT-2003; 186(4): 409-12.
  32. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Breast Cancer Screening Recommendation. February 2002. Accessed on the World Wide Web at
  33. Eyre, Harmon, et al., ACS/ADA/AHA Scientific Statement, Preventing Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Diabetes. Circulation. 2004;109:3244-3255. June 15, 2004.
  34. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Staying Healthy at All Ages. 2001. Accessed on the World Wide Web at ACOG

This assessment is not intended to replace the evaluation of a healthcare professional.

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