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What Influences Your Breast Cancer Risk?

What Influences Your Breast Cancer Risk?

by Lisa Fields

Ever wondered whether you're at risk for breast cancer? A woman's chance of being diagnosed during her lifetime is 1 in 8 (about 12 percent), assuming that she lives to age 90, according to BreastCancer.org. And while it's possible to decrease some risk factors by modifying certain habits (such as alcohol consumption), many risk factors aren't modifiable, like the age when your period began. But having several risk factors doesn't mean that you'll automatically get the disease. Take this quiz to see how many risk factors you have, then learn what you can do about them.

How old are you?
1 of 10 questions

Under 30



55 or older

Which race do you identify with?
2 of 10 questions





How many women in your family have been told that they have mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 or BRCA2, and have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer?
3 of 10 questions


One first-degree relative (a mother, sister or daughter)

Two or more first-degree relatives

One distant relative (a cousin, aunt or grandmother)

How old were you when you started menstruating?
4 of 10 questions

Middle-school student (11 or younger)

High-school freshman (12 to 15)

High-school upperclassman (16 or 17)

College student (18 or older)

How old were you when your first child was born?
5 of 10 questions

You have no children yet but are in your 20s

Under 21


Over 30, or you have no children and are over 30

Did you ever breastfeed your children?
6 of 10 questions

You have no children or you never breastfed

You breastfed until your baby was three months old

You breastfed until your baby’s first birthday

You breastfed for one-and-a-half to two years

Do you use hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
7 of 10 questions

No, because you haven’t gone through menopause yet

Yes, you take estrogen-only HRT

Yes, you take combination (estrogen and progestin) HRT

No, you are postmenopausal but never used HRT

Do you eat a lot of red meat, whole-milk dairy products or other high-fat foods?
8 of 10 questions

You always eat a very low-fat diet

You always eat what you want, which includes a lot of high-fat foods

You generally eat a low-fat diet but occasionally treat yourself to high-fat foods

You eat high-fat foods about half the time and eat healthily the rest of the time

Do you exercise on a regular basis?
9 of 10 questions

You’re a couch potato

You exercise a bit, one or two hours a week

You exercise three or four hours a week

You make sure to get moving at least five hours a week

How much alcohol do you consume on a regular basis?
10 of 10 questions

You have one or two drinks a week socially

You have a glass of wine with dinner every night

Several nights per week, you have three or more drinks per evening

You never touch the stuff