The West Cancer Center says its seeing an increased number of patients who are at a high risk of developing breast cancer. In an effort to meet the needs of its patients, doctors are providing one-on-one care for patients in the form of a new clinic, that maps out their needs and monitors their medical status.
“A normal woman has about a 12 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, when you’re at high risk it just means you’re a little higher than average or above that 12 percent,” explains Kristen Hayes, the clinic’s High Risk Breast Nurse Practitioner. Hayes explains that risk could be linked to strong family ties, like a mother or sister who’s been diagnosed or further issues, like “having a genetic mutation that predisposes you to developing breast cancers, such as the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, or you could have had a previous breast biopsy that showed a-typical or pre-cancerous cells,” says Hayes.
The clinic looks to stop the disease in its tracks, before a patient is ever diagnosed. Patients who are visiting the clinic meet with Hayes to map out a long term, individualized surveillance plan. While early detection screening, like 3-D mammography is best for some, others may opt for surgery.
“Knowledge is power,” says Hayes, when it comes to knowing how to reduce your risk and combat the disease before it begins.
Currently, patients are referred to the clinic following the results of a routine mammogram, or by their healthcare provider.