Preventive Care for High-Risk Breast Cancer Patients
Medical science can identify women at high risk for developing breast cancer. Utilizing a mathematical formula called the Gail Model, we can determine a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer during the next five years.
High-risk women do have options to reduce their risk for breast cancer. These options, which may be explored at the High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic, include:
- Conservative therapy, watchful waiting. Monthly breast examination and an annual breast exam by their primary-care provider are essential for all women. A yearly mammogram is recommended for women over age 40. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol are also key prevention strategies.
- Surgical therapy, removal of both breasts. This is the most radical approach women may take to reduce breast cancer risk. A Mayo Clinic study determined that women undergoing bilateral prophylactic mastectomies, or removal of both breasts, reduced their risk of developing the disease by 90 percent.
- Drug therapy. Two drugs, tamoxifen and raloxifene, have been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk. Women who come to the High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic are counseled regarding the risks and benefits of these medications.
These options are discussed during the High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic visit. Women can then make informed decisions about their preventive breast care.