Up to 10% of all breast cancers are due to mutations in two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which have also been linked to ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Genetic testing can also look for other gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer, such as PALB2. Doctors don’t recommend screening all women, but here’s when you should consider having it done, according to Mary Freivogel, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors:
1. You were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45, or with triple-negative breast cancer before age 60, or with ovarian cancer at any age.
2. You have a family member with a BRCA1/2 mutation.
3. You have any of the following in your family history: two or more relatives with breast or pancreatic cancer, one relative with ovarian cancer, a relative diagnosed younger than age 50, or a case of male breast cancer.
4. You’re of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry and have a close family member who was diagnosed with breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer.
Don’t worry about it
Once and for all, these things will not up your breast cancer risk.
IVF. A 2016 study of more than 25,000 women found no increased risk in those who had undergone in vitro fertilization.
Drinking coffee. If anything, it may lower your postmenopausal risk, says a 2015 study.
Feeling stressed-out. Women who reported feeling frequently or continuously stressed over the previous five years didn’t have a higher risk than those who never or occasionally experienced stress, per a 2016 British study.
Your bra. It doesn’t matter what size, what type, or how often you wear it: A 2014 study looked at 1,044 postmenopausal women who’d been diagnosed with breast cancer and concluded that bra-wearing habits had no effect.