Personal History of Breast Cancer or Other Cancers
Personal history of invasive breast cancer
Women who’ve had breast cancer in the past have a higher risk of getting a new breast cancer than women who’ve never had breast cancer [294-295].
A new breast cancer is called a second primary breast cancer. Unlike a recurrence (a return of the first breast cancer), a second primary tumor is a new cancer unrelated to the first.
These tumors usually occur in the contralateral (opposite) breast rather than in the same breast as the first cancer.
Inherited gene mutations and risk of a second primary breast cancer
If you have a BRCA1, BRCA2 or other inherited gene mutation linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, you may have a higher risk of a second primary breast cancer compared to other women [32,207-211,296].
Your health care provider can discuss risk-lowering options that may be right for you.
Surgery for first breast cancer and risk of a second primary breast cancer
Women treated with lumpectomy (also called breast-conserving surgery) for their first breast cancer can get a second primary cancer in either breast.
Except in rare cases, women treated with mastectomy for their first breast cancer can only get a new cancer in the contralateral (opposite) breast.
After either type of surgery, the risk of a second breast cancer increases over time.
- After about 7 years, about 3 percent of women will be diagnosed with a second breast cancer [297-298].
- After about 25 years, 8-10 percent of women will be diagnosed with a second breast cancer [298-299].
Hormone receptor status of first breast cancer and risk of second primary breast cancer
Women whose first breast cancer was hormone receptor-negative may have a higher risk of a second primary breast cancer compared to those whose first breast cancer was hormone receptor-positive [294,297-298,300-302].
Personal history of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer. With DCIS, the abnormal cells are contained in the milk ducts of the breast and have not spread to nearby tissues.
DCIS is non-invasive, but without treatment, the abnormal cells could progress to invasive breast cancer over time.
About 20-50 percent of DCIS cases may progress to invasive breast cancer if left untreated [4,303-306]. (These numbers are estimates.)
Left untreated, higher grade DCIS may be more likely than lower grade DCIS to progress to invasive cancer in the near future [305,307].
Health care providers can’t predict which cases of DCIS will progress to invasive breast cancer and which will not. So, almost all cases of DCIS are treated.
After treatment for DCIS, there’s still a small risk of [220,305-311]:
- DCIS recurrence (a return of DCIS)
- Invasive breast cancer
One study found, after treatment with lumpectomy (with or without radiation therapy) for DCIS, women had a :
- 3 percent chance of DCIS or invasive breast cancer after 5 years
- 6 percent chance of DCIS or invasive breast cancer after 10 years
Learn more about treatment for DCIS.
Learn more about DCIS and the risk of invasive breast cancer.
Learn more about the anatomy of the breast.
Read our perspective on DCIS.*
Personal history of Hodgkin’s disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) or other cancers
People with a personal history of certain other cancers may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Hodgkin’s disease (Hodgkin lymphoma)
Women who had Hodgkin’s disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) in childhood or early adulthood have an increased risk of breast cancer [312-317]. They are about 5-12 times more likely to get breast cancer than women who never had Hodgkin’s disease .
By age 50, women who had Hodgkin’s disease in childhood or early adulthood have about a 35 percent chance of developing breast cancer .
Breast cancer risk appears to be greater among women who had Hodgkin’s disease in childhood or early adulthood and were treated with radiation therapy compared to those who were treated with chemotherapy alone [313,315].
Women treated for Hodgkin’s at later ages (even with radiation therapy) don’t appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer .
Women who have a BRCA1/2 inherited gene mutation have an increased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer [32,38].
Some inherited gene mutations are linked to an increased risk of more than one type of cancer, including breast cancer.
People with a personal history of another cancer (such as colon, endometrial or thyroid cancer) related to a rare genetic syndrome may have an increased risk of breast cancer [38,208,318].
Learn more about inherited gene mutations.
*Please note, the information provided within Komen Perspectives articles is only current as of the date of posting. Therefore, some information may be out of date.