Finding out you are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer can be overwhelming.
Our team is here to help you understand what it means, how to manage your risk, schedule important screenings, and recommend other tests or treatments that can help you address the risk that has been identified for you.
At our High Risk Breast Cancer Program, part of our Center for Comprehensive Breast Care, our patient navigator will work with you to identify a specialist who can manage your screenings and work with you to reduce your risk.
What does high risk mean?
Being at a higher risk does not mean you will get cancer. It does mean that you have a higher likelihood than a woman with average risk. Patients are identified as high risk through multiple pathways.
You may be identified as high risk if:
- Your Gail risk score is greater than 20 percent. The Gail model uses your own personal medical history, your reproductive history, and the history of breast cancer among your first-degree relatives to estimate your risk of developing invasive breast cancer over specific periods of time.
- You have an identified high-risk lesion.
- You have a mutation in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes and/or other gene mutations which increase your risk.
Managing your risk
Generally, we recommend that patients identified as high-risk are screened every 6 months with an imaging study, and have a physical exam with a specialist.
Depending on your risk level, and the reason for your increased risk, our team may also discuss with you endocrine (anti-estrogen) therapy or prophylactic surgery.
If you’ve had a risk assessment, screening, or genetic test done at Capital Health that identifies you as high-risk, you will receive information about the high risk program. Your primary care doctor will also receive a report. You may also utilize the high risk program if you have been identified as high risk by testing done at another facility.