A significant family history is the strongest individual risk factor for the development of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer and Family History
However, determining which women are at increased risk can be difficult because it depends upon the number, age and sex of affected relatives as well as the degree of relatedness. Ovarian cancer is also closely associated with breast cancer. Other malignancies that may have a heritable link with breast cancer include prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.
It is important to remember that the vast majority of breast cancer in the UK is sporadic and inheritance of cancer-predisposing genes only contributes to 4-5% of all breast cancer cases. Nevertheless, it is also vital to identify those women who are at high-risk of developing breast cancer so that they can make the choices to protect themselves and their family if they so wish.