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High risk program for breast cancer

The High Risk Program helps those at increased risk for breast cancer.

The High Risk Program for breast cancer offers a complete assessment of your breast cancer risk, individual interventions and screenings and a plan for how to reduce risks.

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What it is

If you are at high risk for breast cancer, we can help. Our goal is to help you understand your risk of developing breast cancer and discuss prevention strategies. Our program offers a complete assessment of your breast cancer risk, individual interventions and screenings and a plan for how to reduce risks.

A team comprised of a health care provider, genetic counselor, registered nurse and other breast specialists as needed will work with you to create this plan. We will coordinate breast cancer screenings and discuss options to reduce your risk.

One possible option is genetic testing. If this is recommended for you, we’ll arrange for a formal genetic consultation. We’ll  discuss testing for the  most appropriate family member and ensure that the results are reliably interpreted for you and your family. 

Am I at high risk for getting breast cancer?

The following criteria would suggest you might benefit from an appointment in our High Risk Program.

Personal history

The High Risk Program is appropriate for people with a personal history of:

  • a breast biopsy showing LCIS (lobular cancer in situ)
  • a breast biopsy showing ADH (atypical ductal hyperplasia) or ALH (atypical lobular hyperplasia)
  • a history of radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2, CHEK2, TP53, PTEN or other known breast cancer gene mutation 

Family history

The High Risk Program is also appropriate for people with a family history of:

  • a close relative with breast cancer at a young age, usually younger than 45-50
  • a close relative with ovarian cancer
  • two or more close relatives with breast cancer on the same side of the family, especially if diagnosed at an age younger than 60
  • a brother or father with breast cancer
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2, CHEK2, TP53, PTEN or other known breast cancer gene mutation

Good for detecting

The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that women who are at high risk for breast cancer consider a breast MRI and a mammogram every year. Your team of experts at the High Risk Program will help develop a screening program based on your risk and your needs.

Good for preventing

Options to reduce your risk or increase early detection:

  • More frequent screening
  • Lifestyle modification
  • Risk-lowering medications, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene
  • Prophylactic mastectomy (removal of the breasts)
  • Prophylactic oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)

Be sure to talk with you health care team about these options.

Related links

Source: Allina Health Cancer Care
Reviewed by: Allina Health Cancer Care

First published: 5/21/2019
Last reviewed: 5/21/2019