Mammo Monday: How much does family history increase breast cancer risk?

Posted at 10:27 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 22:27:10-04

If you're a woman, do you know what your family's history of breast cancer is?

The top doctor at Roswell Park's Breast Imaging Center says too many women haven't had that important conversation with their family.

Dr. Ermelinda Bonaccio says if breast cancer does run in your family - either on your mother or father's side - you may need to start getting mammograms more than once a year.  Depending on your age, you may also need to start getting mammograms at a younger age than the broadly recommended age of forty.

But Dr. Bonaccio says the biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman.

That's why, she says, all women need to get that annual check up. 

And don't wait until you're feeling under the weather. Dr. Bonaccio says the ideal time to catch something abnormal is when you're feeling healthy.

"We want to find [abnormal cells] when they're small, when you feel fine, when you don't feel anything in your breast. Because we're not only more likely to cure you, but you often will need less aggressive treatment," Dr. Bonaccio says.

Mammo Mondays is a 7 Eyewitness News partnership with Roswell Park to highlight the importance of mammography for women over the age of forty.