As is the case with all types of cancer, prevention is always the first line of defense. But unavoidable risk factors such as genetic makeup can thwart our best efforts to prevent the onset of the disease. The next line of defense is the stage of the battle that is most responsible for positive outcomes: early diagnosis and treatment.
The Center for Breast Care’s High Risk Clinic is a breast cancer screening program that is uniquely designed for those women who have a medical history and profile that places them at higher risk for developing the disease. The Clinic’s genetics specialist – who is credentialed as an Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics through the Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission – will review family history to determine if genetic testing for the breast cancer “markers” (BRCA1 & BRCA2 mutations) is appropriate. Other factors such as age, race, breast density, alcohol and tobacco use, the use of hormonal replacement therapies, and more, will be discussed and evaluated to determine the best course of action.
If the evaluation determines that a woman is indeed at high-risk for developing breast cancer, FMH is equipped with the technology, tools and clinical expertise to establish the patient’s base-line breast health profile. A 3D mammography or breast MRI may be ordered as a first step in the breast cancer prevention process. There are even medications available (chemoprevention pills) to help reduce a woman’s risk of developing the disease.
About 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary. The Center for Breast Care’s High Risk Clinic is held every Wednesday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at FMH Crestwood. If you have any questions about your risk factors, a staff member will be happy to discuss them with you. You can contact the High Risk Clinic by calling 301-418-6611.