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    High Risk Breast Cancer: Take Charge of Your Breast Health

    Claire Sutherby, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC, CMSRN, OCN 09/13/2021
    Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. When it comes to breast cancer risk, there are some factors that women can't change - like age, race and genes. The good news is, though, women can take charge of their overall breast health by learning their breast cancer risk.

    The Women's Hospital offers the High Risk Breast Program to help women identify if they have an increased risk of breast cancer. The goal of the High Risk Breast Program is to educate women about their risk for breast cancer and whether additional tests or visits in the clinic are recommended, or if a woman can be reassured that her risk of breast cancer is not greater than the general population.

    What risk factors are considered "high risk" for developing breast cancer?
    According to the National Cancer Institute, the risk of developing breast cancer increases for all women with age; however, research has shown the following risk factors increase the chance of developing breast cancer:
    • Strong family history of breast cancer (mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, daughter, etc.)
    • Personal or family history of ovarian cancer
    • A blood relative with a known concerning change/mutation in a gene associated with increased breast cancer risk
    • Breast cancer diagnosed in any blood male relative
    • Abnormal breast biopsy such as atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ
    • Radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30
    • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
    • Dense breast(s) on a mammogram
    What does the High Risk Breast Program provide?
    The High Risk Breast Program has a dedicated provider, Claire Sutherby MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC, CMSRN, OCN, to provide genetic risk evaluation, screening and preventive options for individuals at an increased lifetime risk of breast cancer. She reviews a woman's personal and family health history, prior breast imaging and performs a clinical breast exam at the first appointment. Using this information, she estimates a woman's risk by utilizing validated risk assessment calculators.

    The goal is to identify a woman's short term and lifetime risk of developing breast cancer in order to learn risk reduction options so that women can make informed decisions about their breast health. 

    What if you are considered high risk?
    If you are identified to be at an increased risk for breast cancer, a surveillance plan will be tailored specifically for you based on the latest evidence-based practice in breast cancer risk, prevention, and treatment. She will communicate her recommendations to your health care provider/team, so they can be part of the team monitoring your breast health. She will then educate you regarding ways to potentially reduce your risk of breast cancer. 
     
    Do I qualify for an evaluation in the High Risk Breast Program?
    If you have any of the risk factors mentioned above, you may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Talk with your health care team to discuss a referral to the High Risk Breast Program. 

    For more information, please contact 812-842-2210 or click here. 
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