Prevent Breast Cancer by Recognizing the Risks

Risk FactorsHereditary Breast CancerBreast Cancer Screening GuidelinesTest items
Breast cancer is currently the third leading cancer killer after lung cancer. It is also the most common cancer among women. On average, 1 in 14 Hong Kong women will get breast cancer in lifetime1. There are about 4,000 new cases of breast cancer in Hong Kong each year, including men and women, and this number is still increasing every year.

  1. Hong Kong Cancer Registry, Hospital Authority (Last updated: Oct 2020)

Risk Factors That We Can Avoid

Risk Factors That We Can Not Avoid

Is Breast Cancer Inherited?

About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. 2

If you have a breast cancer gene mutation, your chance of getting breast cancer is 10 times higher than the general population.3

  1. Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry. Hereditary Cancers.

More Than BRCA Genes

The most common genetic mutations in breast cancer occur in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, there are also other genes related to breast cancer. When BRCA 1 & 2 mutates, it increases the risk of breast cancer or even other cancers, such as ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

Not Only Inherited From Mother

BRCA 1 & 2 gene mutations are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, meaning if the child gets the abnormal gene from only one parent, the child will inherit the mutated gene and has a higher risk of getting cancer. Whether the BRCA gene mutation is found in a male or a female, it has a 50% chance of inheriting the BRCA 1 & 2 gene mutation to the next generation.

How frequent should I screen for breast cancer?

The frequency of breast cancer screening recommended by each person may not be the same. People with genetic risk of breast cancer should perform breast cancer screening more frequently than the rest of the population. You can refer to the following recommended procedures issued by the National Comprehensive Cancer Institute (NCCN).

Screening Method Population Risk Hereditary Risk
Clinical Examination Once a year Every 6-12 months
Mammogram Once a year Once a year (or breast MRI scan)
Sonography Screening No related suggestion No related suggestion
Breast MRI Scan No related suggestion Once a year (or mammogram)

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