What affects your chances of getting breast cancer.

Options for Women at Higher Risk

Some risk factors put women at a high risk of breast cancer.

Women at higher risk of breast cancer

Factors that greatly increase the risk of breast cancer include [157]:

Some factors increase breast cancer risk a modest amount (such as usual hyperplasia). Having more than one of these factors may also put a woman at high risk.

Talk with your health care provider about your risk of breast cancer.

Learn more about estimating breast cancer risk.

Breast cancer screening

There are special screening guidelines for some women at higher than average risk of breast cancer [155,157].

If you’re at higher risk of breast cancer, talk with your health care provider about the screening plan that’s best for you. You may need to be screened earlier and more often than other women.

Learn more about breast cancer screening for women at higher risk.

Risk-lowering options

If you have a high risk of breast cancer, options to lower your risk may include:

Talk with your health care provider about the pros and cons of these options. You may want to get a second opinion.

Take the time to make decisions that are right for you. Don’t feel you need to rush. 

Insurance issues and financial assistance

If you have insurance issues (such as what to do if a claim is denied) or need help paying for genetic testing, risk-lowering drugs or other out-of-pocket expenses, there are resources that may help.

Learn about insurance and financial assistance programs.

Prescription drug assistance

Medicare and many insurance companies offer prescription drug plans. One may already be included in your policy. Or, you may be able to buy an extra plan for prescriptions.

You may also qualify for assistance from programs that help with drug costs or offer low-cost or free prescriptions.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans (started on or after September 24, 2014) to cover the cost (with no co-payments) of the risk-lowering drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene for women at high risk of breast cancer. Learn more about this coverage.

There are also generic versions of the drugs used to lower the risk of breast cancer. Generic drugs cost less than the name brands, but are just as effective.

Learn more about prescription drug assistance programs.

Komen Treatment Assistance Program

Susan G. Komen® created the Komen Treatment Assistance Program to help those struggling with the costs of breast cancer treatment by providing financial assistance to eligible individuals.

Funding is available for eligible individuals of any age undergoing breast cancer treatment, at any stage of the disease. To learn more about this program and other helpful resources, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or email at helpline@komen.org.

 Susan G. Komen® Support Resources 

  • If you or a loved one needs more information about breast health or breast cancer, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636). All calls are answered by a trained specialist or oncology social worker in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. You can also email the helpline at helpline@komen.org.
  • We offer an online support community through our closed Facebook Group – Komen Breast Cancer group. The Facebook group provides a place where those with a connection to breast cancer can discuss each other’s experiences and build strong relationships to provide support to each other. Visit Facebook and search for “Komen Breast Cancer group” to request to join the closed group.
  • Our fact sheets, booklets and other education materials offer additional information.

Updated 04/28/21