Women in the United States have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. You may develop breast cancer for a wide range of reasons and underlying factors, so there’s no sure means of preventing cancer. However, an understanding of your risk of breast cancer can help with risk mitigation and early detection, which significantly improves your prognosis.

At New England Breast and Wellness, we provide high-risk counseling to women with a high risk of developing breast cancer, either due to genetic factors, lifestyle factors, or the presence of inherited gene mutations. We curate a personalized risk mitigation program based on your unique needs and preferences, which may include regular breast cancer screening, genetic testing, and other risk reduction options.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Genetic Risk Factors:

  • Biological Sex: Women are 100x more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
  • Age: Women over 55 years of age are far more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Family History: If close family members, such as your sister, mother, or daughter, have a history of breast cancer, especially at a young age, you may have a high risk of breast cancer.
  • Personal History: If you’re a breast cancer survivor, you have a strong risk of breast cancer recurrence.
  • Inherited Gene Mutations: Mutations in certain inherited genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase the risk of breast cancer. Genetic testing can help you determine if you have the gene mutations linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.

Lifestyle Risk Factors:

  • Alcohol Consumption: According to The American Cancer Society, women shouldn’t consume more than one alcoholic drink per day. If you consume alcohol — in any form — on a regular basis, you have a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Smoking: The more you smoke, the higher the risk of breast cancer and other types of cancers.
  • Weight: Excess body fat increases estrogen levels and the risk of breast cancer.

 

Risk Mitigation Program

Dr. Katherina Calvillo carefully assesses your risk factors to determine the likelihood of breast cancer. During your counseling session, she may ask questions about your family history, personal history, lifestyle, and other factors to gauge the possible risk of breast cancer. Based on your individual risk factors, she curates a personalized risk mitigation program to minimize the risk of breast cancer.

Your risk mitigation program may include the following:

  • Breast Cancer Screening: All women should undergo regular mammograms. However, if you have a high risk of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRI scans after regular intervals of 6 months, 12 months, or more. Early detection of breast cancer significantly improves the outcome.
  • Genetic Counseling & Testing: If you’re deemed to have a high risk of inherited gene mutations linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, the doctor may recommend genetic testing. This involves tests to determine if you carry certain gene mutations, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. This can improve risk mitigation efforts and treatment plans.
  • Risk Mitigation Options: If you have a high risk of breast cancer, your doctor may also recommend risk reduction drugs, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene. These medications regulate the production of hormones that may increase the risk of hormone-sensitive breast cancer tumors. The doctor will also discuss other risk mitigation options.

High-Risk Counseling in Wellesley, MA

Dr. Katherina Calvillo is a breast cancer specialist and surgeon with over 16 years of experience at Harvard. She follows an intimate and personalized approach to breast cancer care and mitigation, curating comprehensive patient care programs according to your individual needs. If you have a high risk of breast cancer or inherited genetic mutations, or if you have a personal or family history of breast cancer, please schedule a consultation for high-risk counseling in Wellesley, MA.

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