Several of our hospitals offer our High Risk Breast Program aimed at identifying and educating women who may be at greater risk for developing breast cancer.
What does it mean to be high risk?
Being high risk for breast cancer means that your chance of developing breast cancer is greater than average. While this doesn't mean that you will develop breast cancer, knowing your risk can help you make important decisions about your health care. Prevention, screening and early detection are your best weapons against this disease.
Who is at risk for breast cancer?
Breast cancer can affect both men and women. Although it is much more common in women, the presence of certain conditions can increase the likelihood that you may develop breast cancer in your lifetime. These conditions are called “risk factors.” Being female and getting older are the two biggest risk factors for breast cancer. Some risk factors we can control and others we cannot. However, it is important to remember that all women, with or without risk factors, need to follow recommended breast screening guidelines.
How are patients identified as high risk?
The identification process typically begins during a mammogram. Personal risk factors and family history are assessed by the check-in questions at the time of the mammogram. Our team will review the information and determine the patient’s risk. The average woman has a 12.8% risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Patients may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer if they are determined to be at 20% or higher lifetime risk. These patients will be notified and connected to our High Risk Breast Program.
Additionally, patients who may be high risk, but are not yet mammogram screening age may be referred by their provider or patients may self-refer by contacting the program directly.
What's involved in the High Risk Breast Program?
Women at high risk will meet with an advanced practice provider who will perform a comprehensive risk assessment and create a personalized surveillance plan based on your personal and family risk factors in alignment with national guidelines. Depending on your particular needs, this may include:
- Increased surveillance using mammography, ultrasound and breast MRI
- Clinical Breast Exams
- Education about lifestyle factors that can affect your risk level
- Nutrition counseling
- Exercise programs
- Genetic counseling and testing
- Preventative therapies
- Prophylactic surgery
- Clinical trials
How to Contact Us:
Sentara Martha Jefferson Cancer Resource Center
595 Martha Jefferson Drive, Ste. 390A
Charlottesville, VA 22911
Sentara Surgery Specialists
Sentara Port Warwick
11803 Jefferson Avenue, Ste. 235
Newport News, VA 23606
Sentara Surgery Specialists
Sentara Brock Cancer Center
6251 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Ste. 300
Norfolk, VA 23502