You Can Learn if You Are at a Higher Risk for Breast Cancer
October 25, 2019
By : Jenny Maday, RN
Did you know starting yearly mammograms at age 40 has helped cut breast cancer deaths by more than 40 percent? That’s because mammograms can detect cancer when it is small and easy to treat.
At your yearly mammogram at Mankato Clinic, we also assess your risk for developing breast cancer in your lifetime. When you come in for a mammogram, we gather information from you. We enter your information – your personal and family risk factors – into a breast cancer lifetime risk assessment model. This model calculates an approximate risk of developing breast cancer. We use the Tyrer-Cuzick Model.
Here’s a list of risk factors:
- Personal or family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- History of breast biopsy and/or high risk lesion found on a breast biopsy
- Breast cancer gene mutation
- Personal or related family member with a known breast cancer gene mutation
- Over age 30 at first full-term pregnancy or no history of full term pregnancy
- Dense breast tissue type on mammogram
- Ashkenazi Jewish or Black American ancestry
- Chest radiation therapy between the ages of 10 and 30
- Being overweight
- More than one alcoholic drink a day
- Lack of exercise
When women have a lifetime risk calculation over 20 percent, they are considered to be at an elevated risk of developing breast cancer compared to women their age who are at average risk.
The American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology guidelines recommend a yearly screening breast MRI for our high risk women. The MRI increases the chance of finding breast cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. The guidelines recommend an annual MRI and annual mammogram. Ideal timing is alternating every six months between the yearly mammogram and yearly breast MRI. Radiologists use your mammogram and MRI as complementary exams.
A breast MRI is not recommended for women at average risk for breast cancer. Annual mammograms are recommended for women of average risk beginning at age 40. If you are due for a mammogram, talk to your primary care provider or give Mankato Clinic Diagnostic Imaging a call at 507-389-8570.