Healthy Lifestyle, Risk assessment

Do you know your risk for breast cancer?

By The Edith Sanford team

March 19, 2014

woman with awareness ribbon_86492411Do you think you have a good sense of your personal risk for developing breast cancer?

If not, you’re not alone. It turns out that most of us are way off on this subject.

According to a survey of 10,000 women that was conducted last fall, fewer than 10 percent of the respondents accurately estimated their risk of breast cancer. Of the other 90 percent, about half overestimated their risk, and half underestimated.

What’s more, 40 percent said that they had never discussed their personal breast cancer risk with a doctor.

This is pretty concerning news. It says that with all we’re doing to raise awareness and talk openly about the disease, we’re missing the mark when it comes down to helping women use that information in a proactive way.

As a case in point, do you remember the media madness last year surrounding Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy? Who could miss it, right? It got a lot of people talking, but it turns out that it didn’t do much to boost the general public’s understanding of breast cancer risk.

In fact, when researchers asked 2,500 Americans to answer a survey about the subject, fewer than 10 percent of respondents could correctly answer questions about the BRCA gene mutation or the typical woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

About half of the respondents believed that women without a family history of breast cancer faced a lower than average risk. (In reality, most women who develop breast cancer have little or no family history of breast cancer.)

Are you surprised by any of these findings? How can we do a better job of educating and encouraging women to take steps to learn their risk?

Check out our site for more information about risk factors for breast cancer.