CINCINNATI -- Appropriately timed with the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women who believe they have a higher risk for developing breast cancer have a new community resource for risk assessment.
The University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Center announced the opening of its Risk Assessment and Management Program Monday. The program is designed to identify patients who are at a moderately high or very high risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
Dr. Elyse Lower, director of the center and UC College of Medicine professor, says the goals are promoting awareness and providing expert evaluations for the care of high-risk patients.
“Based on individual risk assessment, patients will be offered appropriate counseling, testing and primary prevention measures to reduce the likelihood of cancer development,” Lower said in a written statement.
Strategies for lowering a woman’s risk for breast cancer may include genetic testing, increased surveillance, chemoprevention or preventive mastectomies or hysterectomies.
“Physicians will evaluate treatment based on criteria met by the individual, providing information needed to make decisions on risk reduction based on one’s wishes,” Lower said.
The following are factors for eligibility at the high risk clinic, according to UC Health:
- Strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
- Known personal or family genetic abnormality in a breast cancer-causing gene, like BRCA, CHEK-2 or Palb B2.
- Prior breast biopsy showing atypical results.
- Gail model breast cancer risk of greater than or equal to 1.67 percent over the next five years or greater than 20 percent lifetime risk.
- History of chest wall radiation to treat Hodgkin's disease.
- Dense breasts on imaging.
According to UC, one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime in the U.S. The risk for an average woman is less than one in 25 over a ten-year period. That’s why it’s vital to identify women who are truly at a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
The clinic is open Monday mornings on the third floor of the UC Health Barrett Cancer Center at 234 Goodman St. Patients can be self-referred or referred by other physicians in the region.
After an initial evaluation, Lower says patients will receive a personalized care plan for tests and follow-up appointments.
“Comprehensive assessment and management is an unmet need in our region, and we’re so happy to provide this tool for individuals at risk,” she said.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 513-584-RISK.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the National Breast Cancer Foundation is offering a helpful guide about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Click here to order a free guide.