The High-Risk Breast Surveillance Clinic specializes in monitoring and treating women who are at an increased risk for breast cancer. If you choose to participate in the clinic, you will undergo a comprehensive physical and family history assessment to identify your personal risk factors. Using a patient-centered, multidisciplinary team approach to your care, we will then develop an individualized plan to closely monitor your breast health and help you make informed decisions regarding possible treatments.
What does “high risk” mean?
If you are assessed as having a high risk for breast cancer, it does not mean that you will develop the disease. “High risk” indicates that your chance of developing breast cancer is greater than average. Knowing your risk factors and whether you are at a higher-than-average risk can help you make proactive decisions about your health care. Prevention, screening, and early detection are your best weapons against this disease.
There are many tools to assist women with determining if they are high risk for breast cancer. Below is a link to one interactive tool designed at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) to estimate a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Should you utilize this tool you are encouraged to discuss these results with your physician.
Who is at risk for breast cancer?
The presence of certain conditions can increase the likelihood that you may develop breast cancer in your lifetime, and these conditions are called “risk factors.” Being female and getting older are two of the biggest risk factors for the disease. While these are obviously things that you cannot control, some risk factors can be reduced or eliminated. The specialists at the High-Risk Breast Surveillance Clinic will determine which risk factors you can control and show you how.
Protecting yourself against breast cancer
It is important to remember that all women — with or without risk factors — need to follow recommended screening guidelines. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as lumps or bumps, skin discoloration, dimpling of the skin, nipple discharge, or a nipple inversion, it is important to be examined by a health care provider — even if your recent mammogram was negative. Call your primary care physician or the High-Risk Breast Surveillance Clinic if you have any of these symptoms.