How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Breast Cancer?

A woman has a 12% absolute risk for developing breast cancer in her lifetime, but a woman’s personal cancer risk changes throughout her life. Breast cancer risk increases with age; the two biggest factors for developing breast cancer are getting older and being a woman. Breast cancer doesn’t just affect older women, however.

Fewer than 5% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women in their 20s and 30s. Breast cancer risk increases with age, but it's still possible to develop breast cancer as a young woman. Understanding your personal risk can help you get the care… Click To Tweet

Can women in their 30s develop breast cancer?

Most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in older women. The median age for breast cancer diagnosis between 2010 and 2014 was 62 years. While uncommon, it is possible for young women to develop breast cancer.

Fewer than 5% of the total breast cancer cases in the U.S. are diagnosed in women under the age of 40.

According to Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2017-2018 from the American Cancer Society, a 20-year-old woman has a 0.1% 10-year probability of developing invasive breast cancer. A 30-year-old woman has a 0.5% risk of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years.

These figures represent absolute risk rather than personal risk of developing breast cancer.

Many other factors contribute to your personal risk for breast cancer including weight, lifestyle choices, and having dense breasts. Some women are born with BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations. Women with a BRCA1 gene mutation are at a 72% risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 80. Women with a BRCA2 mutation have a 69% risk for breast cancer.

Should you talk to your doctor about breast cancer?

Understanding breast cancer risk factors, knowing your personal risk of developing breast cancer, and recognizing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer can help women seek the care that they need, when they need it.

Take our Breast Cancer Risk Quiz to learn more about your personal risk. The quiz takes less than one minute to complete.

If you are 40 years or older, schedule a mammogram. The Breast Center — along with The American Medical Association, The American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, the Society of Breast Imaging, and the National Cancer Institute — recommend that women start getting a screening mammogram every year starting at age 40.

You don’t have to wait until you’re 40 to talk to your doctor about breast cancer, though. Meet with the specialists at the Breast Center if you have questions or concerns about breast cancer or breast health. Request an appointment online or call 479-442-6266.