But if someone in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer, your chances of getting those cancers may be higher. And if you have 2 or 3 relatives who have had these cancers, your chances may be even higher.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free women’s preventive services, including mammograms, birth control and well-woman visits. Learn more.
If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, it may be important to you to find out how high your risk is so that you can decide whether to do something to lower that risk, like take medicine or have surgery.
The best way to find out about your risk is to talk to your doctor. But you can get some idea of how high your risk is by knowing your family history and understanding how it relates to breast and ovarian cancers.
What is a family history?
Having a family history means that you have one or more blood relatives with breast or ovarian cancer.
They may be relatives who have died or relatives who are still alive.
They may be first-degree relatives (parents, sisters, brothers, and children).
Or they may be second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandparents), or third-degree relatives, which includes first cousins.
Some family histories are stronger than others. Here's what determines whether your family history is strong:
How closely related you are to relatives with breast or ovarian cancer. Cancer in first-degree relatives increases your risk the most.