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Know Your Risk

We all face risks to our health and well-being.  It is helpful to know how to understand those risks and learn what we can do to try to improve our chance of good health.

In this section of the web site, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation provides you with suggestions for how to evaluate and understand information about breast cancer, including statistics, risk factorsRisk factor:
Anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease, such as cancer.
, and risk assessment tools.

Defining Risk

Health risks are often described in terms of risk factors. A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of developing a disease.

Established breast cancer risk factors are determined by a body of research with conclusive evidence confirmed by different sources and studies. These risk factors are linked to the development of breast cancer.

While risk factors are established by conclusive research, they cannot be seen as rules or guarantees about whether or not a person will develop breast cancer. Evidence related to risk factors is based on patterns of disease that are observed in a population or a large group of people, rather than individual cases. Even if you have several risk factors for breast cancer, this does not mean you will develop the disease.

On the other hand, some women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may appear to have no identifiable risk factors other than being a woman. Beyond risk estimates being based on what we observe in a large group of people, this tells us that there’s much more to be discovered about breast cancer and its causes.

Explore this section to learn more about:

Understanding risk factors: What breast cancer statistics and risk factors mean for the individual woman

Risk factors for breast cancer:

Using risk assessment tools: An overview of what they are, when they are used, their strengths and limitations, and how they can inform decision-making about breast cancer risk