Primary Care

Are you at higher risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer?

Are you at higher risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer?

When it comes to detecting breast cancer early, knowledge is power.

As a Riverside primary care patient, we are inviting you to be a part of a Hereditary Breast Cancer Screening Program offered to our patients, ages 30 to 39.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or you are interested in assessing your own genetic risk, this short personal and family history questionnaire only takes a moment to complete. Your results are available immediately indicating if you may be at higher risk of developing hereditary breast cancer.

What is hereditary breast cancer?

Hereditary breast cancer is caused by inherited gene mutations. These gene mutations increase the risk of developing breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, only 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are considered to be hereditary.

What does it mean if my questionnaire result shows I am at higher risk for hereditary breast cancer?

If you learn from this questionnaire that you may be at higher risk for hereditary breast cancer, this does not mean you have breast cancer or will have breast cancer. It is an indicator providing options for next steps and recommendations in screening and prevention.

If your result shows you are at higher risk for hereditary breast cancer, you will be contacted by a member of our team and invited to schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor. The genetic counselor will discuss in more details the results of your questionnaire. Through a generous donation, this counseling appointment with our genetic counselor will be covered at no cost to you.

Counseling appointments with the genetic counselor are held virtually. Our referral coordinator will reach out within a week to help you schedule this virtual appointment if you wish to proceed. 

View our High Risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer handout.

What is a genetic counselor?

A genetic counselor is a trained, licensed medical professional. This expert in genetics will guide you through understanding your genes and managing your risk for inherited disease.

During a genetic counseling appointment you can expect the genetic counselor to review your family and personal history, further assessing your risk of inherited breast cancer caused by gene mutation. The genetic counselor will advise if genetic testing is recommended, providing you with necessary information so you may make the personal decision if you wish to move forward with testing.

Information obtained from your visit with the genetic counselor and any genetic testing that may be performed, will provide guidance to you and your health care provider with strategies for early detection. When you are at higher risk for hereditary breast cancer, you may be eligible for earlier breast cancer screenings such as mammograms, ultrasound or Breast MRI.

If your questionnaire result indicates you are at average risk for breast cancer, there are proactive steps you can take for your breast health and wellness.

Breast cancer can happen to young people too. In fact, breast cancer in those younger than 40 years of age are self-detected.

You know best what is normal for your body.

Pay attention to:

  • A lump in the breast or under the arm
  • Skin changes, including a dimple, redness or thickening
  • Change in breast shape or size
  • Nipple discharge
  • Scaling or redness of the nipple and/or areola
  • Nipple retraction or deviation
  • New breast pain

If you notice something that doesn’t look or feel quite right, advocate for yourself, share your concern with your health care provider so you can have a breast exam.

Your health care provider is here to address your concerns.

For those at average risk of developing breast cancer, there are three main components of screening and early detection.

  • Breast Self- Awareness at all ages
  • Have a clinical breast exam performed by your health care provider every three years until age 40, and then yearly thereafter
  • Mammography, beginning age 40, or earlier if you are at high risk due to personal risk factors or family history 

View our Average Risk for Breast Cancer handout.

How does this questionnaire calculate my risk?

The questionnaire uses the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines in Clinical Oncology to calculate risk.

The NCCN Guidelines are considered the standard of care in oncology. Reviewed annually by thousands of multidisciplinary clinicians and researchers, NCCN Guidelines are among the most thorough and up-to-date guidelines in medicine.