Family history increases breast cancer risk even for older women, study suggests

Women are more likely to develop breast cancer when a mother or sister had this disease, and the risk associated with family history doesn?t appear to diminish with age, a U.S. study suggests.

Family history has long been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger women, who are generally advised to start getting screening mammograms when they?re ten years younger than the age their relative was at diagnosis.

But family history has been thought to be less of a factor for the elderly, and women often stop routine screenings by their 70s.

While current U.S. guidelines advise women to get a screening mammogram every other year from age 50 to 74, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force hasn?t found sufficient evidence yet to weigh in on whether women should continue screening after that.

For older women with a family history of breast cancer, the benefits of screening may still outweigh the risks.