This tool works as a screener for women 35 years and older, and appears to be a valid way to screen for possible breast cancer (with some obvious limitations, and the recommendation that you consult a health care professional). Some of the questions include family history, age of first period and a woman’s age at the first live birth of her child.

Sometimes merely going through menopause can cause concern, but other events have a more obvious reason for using the tool: like having a mammogram come back with dense tissue on it, using birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy and of course hereditary breast cancers account for approximately 5% to 10% of all breast cancers.

Disclaimer for the tool:

  • Specific hereditary predispositions for breast cancer, such as inheriting a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, are not taken into account in risk estimates with the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool.
  • A high-fat diet, drinking alcohol, low physical activity, obesity, or environmental exposures, are not included in risk estimates with the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool for three reasons: evidence is not conclusive or researchers cannot accurately determine how much these factors contribute to the calculation of risk for an individual woman, or adding these factors does not increase the accuracy of the tool appreciably.
While it may not seem like much, this tool could help convince a woman to go to the doctor when she might not have considered it otherwise. Pass this along if you know any women who are 35+, are going through menopause or have a history of breast cancer in their family.