Do you know your risk for breast cancer? Our high-risk screening program can provide the answer.
Midstate Radiology Associates, LLC is one of the first Radiology providers in the United States to offer a high-risk screening program within Women’s Imaging at all of our locations. We want to help you understand breast cancer risk – not a woman’s risk – your risk.
High-Risk Screening Program
If a patient is determined to be at elevated risk, Midstate Radiology Associates, LLC will connect him or her with a certified genetics counselor through our tele-genetics program (via phone) at the time of their mammogram or from the comfort of their own home.
This discussion will cover the different ways cancer develops (genetic, familial & sporadic), the value of screening and early detection and other relevant information.
If necessary, patients will be offered additional diagnostic testing. A simple, non-invasive test can be performed in one of two ways:
- A testing kit can be mailed to the patient’s home if appropriate.
- Testing can be done at one of our centers, based on the completion of a paper questionnaire at the time of the patient’s mammogram.
Once we receive the sample, it takes about six weeks to analyze, then one of our nurse practitioners will review the results with you.
There are additional imaging recommendations and screening options for women found to be at higher risk to help monitor their breast health. Those options and recommendations vary by person and your circumstances should be discussed with your provider. Contact a center near you to schedule a mammogram or find out more about genetic testing. We can be reached by phone at 203.694.8879.
Risk Factors that Contribute to Breast Cancer
There are many factors that contribute to risk of breast cancer. The top two risk factors associated with breast cancer are 1) being a woman and 2) age. As we grow older, our risk for breast cancer increases. Approximately 8 out of 10 breast cancers occur in women age 50 and over.
Additional factors that contribute to the overall risk of developing breast cancer include:
- Personal History of Breast Cancer or Other Cancer
- The third most significant risk factor is having a personal history of breast cancer.
- A diagnosis of ductal or lobular carcinoma may increase a woman’s risk of developing invasive breast cancer.
- Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian, colon or endometrial cancer may be at an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Personal History of Fibrocystic Changes (Lumpy Breasts)
- Most fibrocystic changes do not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. However, fibrocystic changes containing “cellular atypia” (change in normal appearance) can increase risk. Cellular atypia can only be diagnosed by a pathologist through breast biopsy.
Personal Health History
- Starting periods at less than 12 years of age; late menopause — age 55 years or older. The more menstrual periods a woman has in her lifetime, the more the risk.
- Never carrying a pregnancy to full term.
- First pregnancy at age 30 or older.
- Never breastfed a child.
- Oral contraceptive use or hormone therapy.
- Previous chest irradiation for another type of cancer, especially at a young age.
- Risk appears to increase when a first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) is diagnosed with breast cancer at an age less than 40 and/or has had breast cancer in both breasts.
- Breast cancer in two or more family members may increase risk.
- A family history of ovarian, endometrial, colon and/or prostate cancer may also increase breast cancer risk.
- When looking at family history, it is important to consider both maternal and paternal sides of the family.
- Certain gene defects inherited from parents (i.e. BRCA gene mutation).
Eighty percent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women with no family history of cancer. Most breast cancers develop due to environment and heredity.
- Obesity – because the body makes some of its estrogen in fatty tissue, obese women are more likely to have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies. High levels of estrogen may be the reason that obese women have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Lack of physical exercise.
- Excess use of alcohol may also increase the risk of breast cancer (consumption of one or more alcoholic beverages daily).
- Hormone therapy – women who take hormone therapy (estrogen plus progestin) are at greater risk. Women who use estrogen long term (greater than 10 years) are at higher risk.