top of page
  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Hereditary (or Familial) vs. Sporadic Breast Cancer: Key Differences and Implications

Hereditary (or Familial) vs. Sporadic Breast Cancer: Key Differences and Implications

Breast cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers among women, can be categorized into two main types: hereditary and sporadic. Understanding the distinctions between these types is crucial as they differ in causes, risk factors, and implications for treatment and prevention.

Hereditary (or Familial) Breast Cancer

Hereditary breast cancer accounts for a small percentage (5-10%) of all breast cancer cases and is primarily caused by inherited genetic mutations. Some of the most common genes for detecting mutations are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. However, there are several more worth noting: ATM, TP53, PTEN, PALB2, CHK1etc. 

Key Characteristics:

  • Genetic Mutations: Inherited mutations in specific genes like BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM, TP53, PTEN, etc., significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.

  • Family History: Individuals with a strong family history of breast cancer across generations, especially at younger ages, might have an increased likelihood of hereditary breast cancer.

  • Risk Factors: Women with genetic mutations have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, often at an earlier age.


  • Risk Assessment: Genetic testing and counseling for individuals with a family history of breast cancer aid in identifying hereditary factors.

  • Preventive Measures: Prophylactic surgeries, like mastectomy or oophorectomy, might be considered to reduce the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

  • Targeted Treatments: Knowing the genetic mutation type can guide treatment decisions, such as targeted therapies or PARP inhibitors for BRCA-mutated cancers.

Sporadic Breast Cancer

Sporadic breast cancer, accounting for the majority of cases (90-95%), occurs without any apparent inherited genetic predisposition. Sporadic breast cancer means there is no risk of the person passing the gene on to their children. The underlying cause of sporadic breast cancer is a combination of internal, or hormonal, exposures; lifestyle factors; environmental factors; and normal physiology, such as DNA replication.

Key Characteristics:

  • Random Occurrence: Sporadic breast cancer arises without a clear genetic predisposition or familial inheritance pattern.

  • Risk Factors: Factors such as age, reproductive history, hormone levels, lifestyle choices (like smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity), and environmental exposures contribute to sporadic breast cancer risk.


  • Early Detection: Regular screenings, mammograms, and self-examinations are vital for early detection and improved outcomes in sporadic breast cancer.

  • If you have a genetic predisposition you may consider a preventative surgery (prophylactic mastectomy) 

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco can help reduce the risk of sporadic breast cancer.

  • Treatment Approach: Treatment plans focus on factors like tumor type, stage, and hormone receptor status, rather than genetic mutations.

Conclusion: Importance of Understanding the Differences

Understanding the differences between hereditary and sporadic breast cancer is essential for risk assessment, preventive measures, treatment decisions, and overall management. Genetic counseling, regular screenings, healthy lifestyle choices, and personalized treatment plans are crucial aspects in addressing both types of breast cancer effectively.

Recent Posts

See All


Opmerkingen zijn niet geladen
Het lijkt erop dat er een technisch probleem is opgetreden. Probeer nogmaals verbinding te maken of de pagina te vernieuwen.

Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


The Caregiver Huddle

Third Tuesday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month



June 14,  11:30 a.m. ET


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

June 17 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


The Sun's Embrace: A Summer Solstice Meditation

June 21,  11:00 a.m. ET


Qi Gong

June 25,  11:30 a.m. ET


Art Therapy

July 1, 6:00 p.m. ET


Forest Bathing

July 2,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

July 9, 11:30 a.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

July 9,  6:00 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

July 22,  6:00 p.m. ET


Más eventos en español


Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

bottom of page