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Gail Risk assessment

Gail Risk Assessment Calculator


  • Race Caucasian or other
  • Age
  • # First degree relative with breast cancer
  • Age of menarche
  • Age at the birth of first child
  • # of breast biopsies you have had
  • Atypia yes/no

Factors that increase risk

  • African American
  • Age > 50
  • Increased risk with increased # relatives with breast cancer
  • Early menarche
  • Late menopause
  • Late birth 1stchild
  • Never having a child
  • Increased risk with increased # of biopsies
  • Any atypical cells found on the biopsy


Your physician can determine your individual risk for the development of cancer in the future. The most widely used formula is called the GAIL risk model and takes into consideration many factors. This is only an estimate and can be used to assess your risk profile.

 The most prominent factor in the risk assessment is having been born a woman. Only 1% of breast cancers are diagnosed in men, therefore being female is the most obvious risk factor. The next factor that comes into play is age. The preponderance of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 60 but cancer can occur at any age. (80% of all breast cancers occur in women over 50 with no family history) The next factor we look at is how many first-degree family members (mother, sister or daughter) have been diagnosed with this disease.

     A history of multiple breast biopsies, particularly those with atypical changes is a significant factor. Estrogen exposure is the next factor that has many components. Estrogen does not cause a cancer to form, but it can promote the growth and progression of the disease. Menarche, the age of your first menstrual period, is a factor that you cannot control. The earlier your period begins the higher the risk. Being nulliparus, never having given birth, and having your first child after the age of thirty, also increases your risk profile.

     The GAIL risk assessment allows your physician to determine your five year and lifetime risk and can become an important factor in your decision making process when it comes to breast cancer prevention.

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