Assessment and management of predisposition to specific diseases is currently a very hot dimension of medicine. Once purely the realm of epidemiologists, the emergence of molecular genetic testing and other highly sophisticated diagnostic and prognostic techniques has made risk assessment and care a part of the work of many clinicians--from GPs to the super-specialist. Nowhere has the study of "prognostic factors" been more high-profile (and more clinically fruitful) than in breast cancer. Breakthroughs in the identification of genes associated with breast carcinoma, particularly BRCA1 and 2, as well as other risk factors, influence not only how patients are screened, but also how they are treated. With one in nine women likely to contract breast cancer in her lifetime, the significance of identifying and managing the high-risk patient is evident.