Do you know your breast cancer lifetime risk score?

Do you know your breast cancer lifetime risk score?

“The Newsroom” and “X-Men” Actress Olivia Munn revealed her year-long battle with breast cancer in a social media post last week. Originally, she thought her risk of developing breast cancer was slim after testing negative for the BRCA gene, the gene that increases your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, and experiencing a normal mammogram. However, a breast cancer risk assessment score is what she credits for saving her life when she thought she was in the clear.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by o l i v i a (@oliviamunn)

A breast cancer risk assessment score looks at several key risk factors including your overall age, family history, past biopsies and reproductive status. Munn received an overall lifetime risk score of 37% so her care team recommended she received an MRI, then an ultrasound and a biopsy.

“The breast cancer risk assessment score is pretty accurate,” says Dr. Irene Israel, a breast surgeon at Advocate Health Care. “If you have a score greater than 20%, you should supplement annual mammograms with an annual MRI. Women who have category C or D dense breasts (breasts that are mostly glandular tissue and little fat tissue) on their mammograms should be offered supplemental screening with ultrasound or MRI, if high risk. This is because the sensitivity of the mammogram is decreased in these densities.”

After her supplemental screenings, Munn was diagnosed with fast growing luminal b breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. The risk calculator helped her receive treatment early which is when cancer is more treatable.

“The notable thing about Olivia’s story is that even without a genetic abnormality you can still develop breast cancer,” says Dr. Israel. “80% women who develop breast cancer do not have any family history or genetic abnormality. If you have a family history of breast cancer and a negative genetic test, then you should still get screened as high risk.”

If you have questions about your lifetime risk, contact your doctor.

Want to learn about your risk for breast cancer? Take our free online quiz.

Related Posts


One Comment

  1. going without fear and getting a mammogram on time is saving a woman and helping others achieve better health.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.