by Madison Loethen
A variety of health or family history factors can cause you to be at higher risk for developing breast cancer. While this can be a scary thought, Boone Hospital Center’s Harris Breast Center and Boone Medical Group’s High Risk Breast Clinic have teamed up to provide a plan for early detection, treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
Harris Breast Center provides breast tomosynthesis, also known as a 3D mammogram, to everyone who receives a mammogram. When you come in for your screening mammogram, your technologist will first complete a risk assessment, asking you about your personal and family medical history. Your answers are put into the Tyrer-Cuzick Risk Model, a tool that calculates your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. After your mammogram, a radiologist will review your images and prepare a report of your results that includes your breast density type and lifetime risk score.
“We have been evaluating breast density for many years and know that there is an increased risk of developing breast cancer in women with dense breasts. The newest version of the Tyrer-Cuzick Model allows us to integrate breast density into the risk equation and helps us determine which women with increased density should undergo further screening. It allows us to create an individualized assessment that is unique to each patient,” says Terry Elwing, MD, director of the Harris Breast Center.
Based on your results, you may be referred for additional screening to be completed at an appointment with Boone Medical Group’s High Risk Breast Clinic. At this appointment, you will be asked about additional factors that may contribute to your risk of developing breast cancer, including your lifestyle and further details of your family history.
According to Boone Medical Group board-certified surgeon and breast health expert Anne Petersen, MD, thorough screening for breast cancer risk is incredibly important.
“This is an area of medicine that is newer in its development, and it is exciting that we have been able to start this program for everyone getting a mammogram. Not everyone is aware of the extra screening that should be done so that we can catch cancer sooner, hopefully, before it has a chance to spread. There are some cases where we may be able to prescribe medicine to even prevent cancer from ever happening,” says Dr. Petersen.
The clinic may recommend lifestyle changes, an MRI or ultrasound study, genetic testing, risk-reducing medication or risk-reducing surgery, based on a combination of your mammogram and risk assessment results.
Liana Makarian, MD from Missouri Cancer Associates, provides genetic counseling for patients who are at high risk for developing breast cancer.
“A subset of all cancers are hereditary. Genetic testing can allow us to find out if a patient has a gene to develop cancer. Once we know that, we can prevent cancer from occurring. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” says Dr. Makarian.
To schedule your screening mammogram with Boone Hospital's Harris Breast Center, call 573.815.8150