There is a gene associated with breast and ovarian cancer, and while it’s not widely known, there is a test available to see if you’re a carrier.

Breast cancer risk - Women's Health & Fitness


Has anyone in the family had breast cancer?

Why it matters: There is a gene associated with breast and ovarian cancer, and while it’s not widely known, there is a test available to see if you’re a carrier. Only around five to 10 per cent of breast cancers are linked to family history, meaning a hand-me-down is the exception, not the rule. And even people with a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer – the on-paper risk doubles – are statistically unlikely to ever develop the disease.

To-do list: If a close blood relative developed breast or ovarian cancer (which can both be linked to dodgy genes BRCA1 and BRCA2) under the age of 40, you have a number of first-degree relatives with one or other cancer, or if multiple people on the same side of the family have or have had cancer, ask your GP about genetic testing. You can also minimise your risk with regular breast self-exams. Just 25 per cent of breast cancer occurs in women aged under 50. If you’re younger and concerned about an unusual lump, pain or discharge, see your GP.

Get more health advice and learn how to care for your breasts.

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