Oct 25, 2018 11:00 AM

Author: Whitney Espinel, Genetic Counselor


HCI Service Helps You Know Your Personal Breast Cancer Risk

One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer. That’s about a 10-12% lifetime risk of breast cancer for most women. Regular breast cancer screening starting at age 40 is the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it is easiest to treat. But how do you know if you have a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer?

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) now offers personalized breast screening visits, which allows you to find out your own risk for breast cancer. This helps you decide if you need to screen for breast cancer earlier or more often than average, or if you need to take extra steps to lower your cancer risk.

This is how a personalized breast screening visit works:

  • First, you have a mammogram and get the results immediately.
  • Then you discuss your risk with two specialists:
    • A radiologist shows you images of your breasts and talks about your breast density, which is a factor in breast cancer risk. 
    • A genetic counselor learns about your family history and will recommend if you should get genetic testing based on that information.

Who should schedule a personalized breast screening visit? 

YOU! Your sister. Your mother. Anyone who schedules a mammogram at HCI at the University of Utah or our South Jordan Health Center clinic can ask for this service.

When are these visits available? 

How much does this visit cost? 

The visit costs the same as a regular mammogram. Most insurance covers mammograms as a preventive screening. 

How long is a personalized breast screening visit? 

Getting a mammogram typically takes about 30 minutes. Plan to spend another 30-45 minutes meeting with the radiologist and genetic counselor to talk about your risk.

What can influence my risk for breast cancer? 

These things influence breast cancer risk

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Genetics
  • Breast density 
  • Hormonal factors 
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Environmental exposures 

If I have a higher risk for breast cancer, what can I do? 

At your visit, you will learn options to reduce your cancer risk and ways to screen for and find breast cancer earlier. You may need different types of imaging or more frequent imaging. We may also refer you to our high risk breast cancer clinic for a more detailed discussion. 

How should I prepare for my appointment? 

Before your visit, ask your family members about cancers or non-cancerous tumors in your blood relatives. Find out as much information as you can such as the ages of your family members when they were diagnosed and the type of cancer they had. Bring that information with you to discuss with the genetic counselor. 

How do I schedule a personalized breast screening visit? 

Schedule or request an appointment in one of these ways:


Whitney Espinel, Genetic Counselor

Huntsman Cancer Institute
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

breast cancer precision medicine screening genetics

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