High Risk — Prevention Consultation

Some women are at increased risk for breast cancer due to factors such as their family history. The focus of the prevention program is to help patients understand their personal risk of breast cancer and to explore the available options for reducing risk, early detection and increased surveillance.

When you visit the Breast Care Center, you will have a risk assessment consultation which will include:

  • Gathering personal and family health history information
  • Calculating the short and long-term breast cancer risk
  • Performing a clinical breast examination
  • Discuss screening recommendations including digital mammography, ultrasound and MRI
  • Give lifestyle strategies to reduce risk
  • Review prevention options and clinical trials
  • Discuss the need for and perform genetic testing if appropriate

Who should be evaluated?

  • Anyone concerned about their risk of developing breast cancer
  • Anyone at increased risk of breast cancer

Who is at increased risk of breast cancer?

Major risk factors:

  • Inherited genetic mutations (BRACA1 and BRCA2) or a mutation present in the family
  • First degree relative with a cancer diagnosis under the age of 60
  • Chest radiation before the age of 30
  • Precancerous biopsy findings such as epithelial hyperplasia or atypical ductal hyperplasia
  • Personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Age greater than 60

Minor risk factors:

  • Long menstrual history (menstrual periods starting early and ending late in live)
  • Never having children
  • Having one’s first child after the age of 30
  • Prolonged use of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
  • Postmenopausal obesity
  • Multiple second or third degree relatives with breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Multiple breast biopsies
  • High breast tissue density (a mammographic measure of the amount of glandular tissue relative to the fatty tissue of the breast)

Genetic Testing

Approximately 10% of breast and ovarian cancer are inherited. Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are often due to a mutation or alteration in either of 2 genes-BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes can be inherited from either your father or mother and can be passed on to your children if you have the abnormal gene.

If you have the BRACA1 and BRCA2 gene, you can take action in order to reduce your chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer or both. Knowing this information will afford you the ability to make a plan of action with your physician in order to prevent breast or ovarian cancer.

Not everyone should have genetic testing. A person who should consider genetic testing my have a personal or family history of one or more of the following:

  • Breast cancer before age 50
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • 2 primary breast cancers in an individual at any age
  • Male breast cancer at any age
  • 2 or more breast cancers in a family, one under the age of 50
  • Women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with breast or ovarian cancer at any age
  • A previously identified BRCA mutation in the family

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 analysis can be collected by taking a small amount of your blood or from oral washings. The results are reported to your ordering physician within 7-10 business days. Most insurance cover some of the testing cost if one of the above criteria is met.

Please visit the website www.bracnow.com for more information regarding genetic testing