Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has launched a new High Risk Breast Program aimed at identifying and educating women who may be at greater risk for developing breast cancer.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital Launches a New High Risk Breast Program

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Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has launched a new High Risk Breast Program aimed at identifying and educating women who may be at greater risk for developing breast cancer.

The identification process begins when a woman comes in for her mammogram. During check in, she is given a set of questions to help identify her risk level. The questions include age, family history, prior biopsy with abnormal cells, lifestyle factors, and post-menopausal hormone use. The information is then analyzed and a risk score is given based off the responses provided by the patient.

Patients with a high score will be notified by letter and asked to reach out to Sentara Martha Jefferson’s High Risk Breast Program navigator, Janelle Gorski, NP, who will then ask additional questions to determine next steps and, if needed, help guide the patient through the program.

“If a patient is high risk, they are then introduced to the many aspects of the program,” said Gorski, “The first step is to offer a referral to a breast specialist for consideration of high risk screening, and also if the patient is eligible, for genetic counseling. There are also free elements to the program which includes meetings with a registered dietician and exercise counselor.”

Only 5 to 10 percent of all cancer is hereditary and over 50 percent of the most common cancers can be prevented. The idea behind the program is to give women the tools they need to help prevent breast cancer and make informed decisions about their healthcare.

The program will also offer a continuum of care for patients by setting up and maintaining communication with the patient’s primary care provider, allowing everyone in the patient’s care journey updates on referrals and recommendations made by the program.