Empower yourself and find your risk of breast cancer.
Use your smartphone or our website to calculate your personalized risk of breast cancer and find out if you may qualify for earlier breast cancer screening.
Sponsored by Florida Breast Cancer Foundation
This campaign is designed to help women and men understand their personal risk of breast cancer and screening recommendations.
As of January 2022, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment .
Did you know that 1 out of every 8 women in the United States develop breast cancer in their lifetime? That means that the average risk for a woman is about 13% .
About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general .
Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021 accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization .
[1,3] Data statistic as of January 2022, courtesy of www.cancer.org.
In 2018, the American College of Radiology issued new recommendations that all women be evaluated for breast cancer risk by age 30, so that those at higher risk can be identified and begin screening before age 40 .
Similarly, the American College of Breast Surgeons advises all women over age 25 to undergo risk assessment. There are a variety of risk assessment models available [1, 2, 3].
The risk assessment model used in this tool is based on the modified GAIL model for absolute risk of breast cancer. Calculators such as this one can overestimate or underestimate your risk. Use the links below to compare your result with similar tools.
Tyrer-Cuzick Risk Assessment Calculator
The American College of Radiology recommends that women of average risk start getting annual mammograms at age 40 .
By not getting annual mammograms, starting at age 40, you increase your changes of dying from breast cancer and the likelihood that you will experience more extensive treatment for any cancers found.
Annual mammography screening starting at age 40 provides the greatest breast cancer mortality reduction by enabling diagnosis at smaller sizes and earlier stages, better surgical options, and more effective chemotherapy. Delaying screening until age 45 or 50 results in unnecessary loss of life to breast cancer, adversely affecting minority women in particular.
Higher-risk women should start mammographic screening earlier and may benefit from supplemental screening modalities. For women with genetics-based increased risk (and their untested first-degree relatives), with a calculated lifetime risk of 20% or more or a history of chest or mantle radiation therapy at a young age, supplemental screening with contrast-enhanced breast MRI is recommended. 
Breast MRI is also recommended for women with personal histories of breast cancer and dense tissue, or those diagnosed by age 50. Others with histories of breast cancer and those with atypia at biopsy should consider additional surveillance with MRI, especially if other risk factors are present. Ultrasound can be considered for those who qualify for but cannot undergo MRI.
All women, especially black women and those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, should be evaluated for breast cancer risk no later than age 30, so that those at higher risk can be identified and can benefit from supplemental screening.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) has published breast cancer screening recommendations for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. Data is limited about breast cancer risk in the LGBTQ+ community and recommendations are guided by sex assigned at birth, use and duration of hormone treatment, and surgical history.
Annual screening at age 40 is usually recommended for transfeminine (male-to-female) patients who have used hormones for ≥5 years, as well as for transmasculine (female-to-male) patients who have not had mastectomy .
In transfeminine individuals at higher-than-average risk, 25 to 30 years of age or older, and with 5 or more years of hormone use, breast cancer screening is usually appropriate.
In average-risk transmasculine (female-to-male) individuals who are 40 years of age or older with breast reduction or no chest surgery, a screening mammogram is appropriate.
In intermediate-risk transmasculine individuals 30 years of age or older with breast reduction or no chest surgery, screening mammogram is appropriate, and breast ultrasound or breast MRI with and without intravenous contrast may be appropriate.
Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer are less likely to present for cancer screening than non–lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer persons . Facilities must work to create a respectful environment that welcomes all people .
The lifetime risk of breast cancer for a man is approximately 1:833, as compared with 1:8 for a woman. Breast cancer is about 100 times less common for men than women. The American Cancer Society estimates about 2,710 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022. There are multiple risk factors for development and we want you to be aware of the factors that may increase your risk of male breast cancer.
Breast cancer risk is doubled for men who have a first-degree relative with breast cancer. In men with breast cancer, about 1 out of 5 have a close relative, male or female, with the disease. The highest incidence and death rates of male breast cancer are found in non-Hispanic Black men and men over 80 years old.
Due to low prevalence and limited data to support male breast cancer screening, there are currently no recommendations for image-based screening in asymptomatic men and few recommendations for men at high risk for breast cancer such as those who have high risk genetic mutations .
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2.2022) recommends men who have a BRCA pathogenic variant or likely pathogenic variant undergo the following screening:
- Begin breast self-exam training and education starting at age 35 years old.
- Clinical breast exam, every 12 months, starting at age 35 years old.
- Consider annual mammogram screening in men with gynecomastia starting at age 50 or 10 years before the earliest known male breast cancer in the family (whichever comes first) .
We have provided a list of references for the materials discussed in this educational module.
- Breast Cancer Screening in Women at Higher-Than-Average Risk: Recommendations From the ACR
Monticciolo, Debra L. et al. Journal of the American College of Radiology, Volume 15, Issue 3, 408 – 414 https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(17)31524-7/fulltext
- Lee CS, Sickles EA, Moy L. Risk Stratification for Screening Mammography: Benefits and Harms. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2019 Feb;212(2):250-258. doi: 10.2214/AJR.18.20345. Epub 2018 Dec 17. PMID: 30557052. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30557052/
- Boughey JC, Hartmann LC, Anderson SS, Degnim AC, Vierkant RA, Reynolds CA, Frost MH, Pankratz VS. Evaluation of the Tyrer-Cuzick (International Breast Cancer Intervention Study) model for breast cancer risk prediction in women with atypical hyperplasia. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Aug 1;28(22):3591-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.28.0784. Epub 2010 Jul 6. PMID: 20606088; PMCID: PMC2917314. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20606088/
- Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations Inclusive of All Women at Average Risk: Update from the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging. Monticciolo, Debra L. et al. Journal of the American College of Radiology, Volume 18, Issue 9, 1280 – 1288. https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(21)00383-5/fulltext
- Haviland KS, Swette S, Kelechi T, Mueller M. Barriers and Facilitators to Cancer Screening Among LGBTQ Individuals With Cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2020 Jan 1;47(1):44-55. doi: 10.1188/20.ONF.44-55. PMID: 31845916; PMCID: PMC7573971. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30557052/
- Perry H, Fang AJ, Tsai EM, Slanetz PJ. Imaging Health and Radiology Care of Transgender Patients: A Call to Build Evidence-Based Best Practices. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 Mar;18(3 Pt B):475-480. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2020.10.008. PMID: 33663757. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33663757/
- American College of Radiology ACR Appropriateness Criteria®. Transgender breast cancer screening.
ACR, Reston, Virginia2021
- Woods RW, Salkowski LR, Elezaby M, Burnside ES, Strigel RM, Fowler AM. Image-based screening for men at high risk for breast cancer: Benefits and drawbacks. Clin Imaging. 2020 Mar;60(1):84-89. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2019.11.005. Epub 2019 Nov 28. PMID: 31864206; PMCID: PMC7242122. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31864206/
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (2022). BRCA-Pathogenic/Likely Pathogenic Variant – Positive Management (version 2.2022). Retrieved from https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/genetics_bop.pdf
What is screening?
Screening is looking for signs of disease before a person has symptoms. The goal of screening mammography is to find cancer at an early stage when it can be treated and cured.
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that allows doctors called radiologists to look for changes in breast tissue. A screening mammogram is used to look for signs of breast cancer in women who don’t have any breast symptoms or problems. X-ray pictures of each breast are taken, typically from 2 different angles.
How to get screening?
The essential information you need so that you do not miss out on this important exam.
Before being able to schedule a mammogram, you might need a referral from a doctor if you are under the age of 40, have already received your annual screening mammogram for the year, have an abnormal breast symptom, or have had breast cancer in the past.
If you are 40 years or older and simply seeking a screening mammogram without any of the exceptions mentioned, it’s unlikely you will be asked for a doctor’s referral.
Screening mammogram: If you don’t have any symptoms or pain, and just need your yearly mammogram.
Diagnostic mammogram: If you have continuous and persistent pain, redness, a lump, discharge, or other concerns that need to be evaluated. Diagnostic mammograms are also done after irregular findings in a routine screening mammogram.
Mammograms are often performed at the hospital, breast center building or an imaging center. You can also look to see if there is a mobile mammography unit (“mammovan”) that might be coming to a location near your home or work.
Call the breast center or the hospital’s main number. Ask to be transferred to the breast center or women’s health center. Once you are transferred, ask who you should speak with about scheduling a free mammogram. If the receptionist doesn’t know, ask to speak to a patient or nurse navigator.
Use the following phrases to help you get connected to the correct department:
“Hello! I am calling to schedule my mammogram.”
“I was referred to you about free or low-cost mammograms. Can you help me find out how I can qualify and how I can get that scheduled?”
For those with insurance, please note that plans might cover each type of mammogram differently. For example, a yearly screening mammogram will be fully covered but you might be responsible for co-pays or deductibles if additional diagnostic mammograms or exams are required.
For those without insurance or difficulty covering the cost of a mammogram, a hospital may have funds or a charity care program where they provide the mammogram for free or at a low cost. Call the hospital near you and ask to speak with a financial counselor who can explain the program and qualification requirements. You can also contact local charities that might pay for the mammogram. Be sure to check first with the organization to see if you qualify and what they will require of you.
We have provided a list of resources below that may assist you if you have difficulty covering the cost of your mammogram.
“We don’t offer free mammograms here. The cost is going to be $400.”
Ask if they have a partner facility that might offer free or discounted mammograms.
If you are not interested in exploring a payment plan with this facility, consider this a great time to view the resources linked below.
“You need a doctor or doctor’s order to schedule this exam.”
If you don’t have a doctor and you are experiencing an abnormal breast symptom, try an internet search phrase like “Find a doctor near me.” Many healthcare systems have online databases that will allow you to easily search for doctors by criteria, such as specialty and zip code. If you don’t have insurance, you may try searching “free and low-cost clinics near me”. A family doctor or gynecologist can examine your breast symptoms and write an order for a diagnostic mammogram. If you are scheduling an appointment with a doctor for the first time, be sure to tell the scheduler that you have an abnormal breast symptom.
If you already have a doctor and the mammography facility requires a doctor’s order, be sure and let you doctor know that you need to schedule a mammogram, as well as any unusual breast symptoms that you are experiencing. Your doctor may want to examine you in the office before writing an order.
“We need your previous mammograms for this appointment.”
In certain situations, you may be required to obtain your past mammogram records, like images, films or cds, from a previous facility. If so, contact the previous facility where you had your mammogram and ask how you may obtain your prior mammography images and reports. They may ask for the mailing address of your new mammography facility.