Know Your Risk
At Pink Hope, we feel that knowledge is power and when it comes to your health, knowledge is everything. That’s why we encourage everyone to know their risk when it comes to breast and ovarian cancer.
1 in 8
Australian women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life.
1 in 81
Australian women will develop ovarian cancer. at some point in her life.
Know your risk. Change your future.
Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
Learning about the risk factors associated with breast, ovarian and prostate
cancers is crucial to being able to take control of your health.
Personal health history
This includes a past history of cancer in yourself as well as some types of benign (non-cancerous) conditions. It is best to speak with your doctor about whether any factors in your past health affect your risk of cancer. For example, if you have had breast cancer already, this affects your future risk of a new breast cancer. Some types of benign changes in the breast (but not most cysts) can increase your risk of breast cancer risk – it depends on the detail of what has been found.
A number of lifestyle factors are known to impact overall health and wellbeing including affecting the risk of several types of cancer. The good news is you can change some of these to reduce your cancer risks. This includes your diet, how much alcohol you have, smoking and exercise. It is important to note that lifestyle factors mean non-hereditary factors.
Family health history
Gathering your family health history and talking to your doctor about this is a crucial step towards understanding more about your personal level of risk for cancer. Some factors that can affect your risk of breast and ovarian cancer include:
- a relative or close family member with breast and/or ovarian cancer
- a relative or close family member with a known gene mutation
- a relative or close family member with cancers occurring at young ages (eg. before 40 for breast cancer or before 50 for ovarian cancer)
- relatives or close family members with cancer in both breasts
- male relatives with breast cancer
- an ethnic background from a population where some mutations are more common e.g. Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry
You can record your Family Health History on the Pink Hope Mapping Form and for more information on the type of family health history to collect, recording it and tips for talking to your family about health history see Pink Hope’s Guide to Starting the Conversation.