Women's Diagnostic Center

High Risk Breast Clinic

The High Risk Breast Clinic at Community Hospital's Women's Diagnostic Center offers peace of mind for women at increased risk for breast cancer. The clinic is staffed by experts in the field who provide individualized recommendations for prevention and surveillance to patients at increased risk. If your risk of developing breast cancer is greater than normal, we can help. With individual assessments, recommendations for prevention and the most advanced innovative breast care, we meet all your needs close to home.

Services including a clinical breast exam by a certified nurse practitioner, education about breast self-exams, screening tests, education about breast cancer risk, a personalized surveillance plan, and prevention strategies are offered. The Clinic staff helps coordinate scheduling and pre-authorization of diagnostic imaging studies, and provides referrals to resources and support, such as genetic or psychological counseling; nutrition experts; and research studies.

Factors that can increase a women's risk of developing breast cancer include age (four out of five breast cancers diagnosed are in women over 50); family history (mother, daughter, sister had breast cancer, particularly before menopause or a father/brother with breast cancer); an Ashkenazi Jewish family lineage; certain breast changes (diagnosis of atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ); menstrual period beginning at an early age; going through menopause at a late age; having no children, or having your first pregnancy after age 30.

At-risk women have options to reduce their risk for breast cancer, including:

Surveillance:

  • Monthly breast self examination and an annual breast exam by a primary-care provider is encouraged for all women.
  • A yearly mammogram is recommended for women age 40 and older and an annual breast MRI is an added recommendation for those at high risk.
  • Regular exercise, smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol are also key prevention strategies.

Drug therapy:

  • Two drugs, Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, have been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk.

Surgical therapy:

  • This is the most life-changing approach women may take to reduce breast cancer risk.

You may want to consider a visit to the High Risk Clinic if you:

  • Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 20 percent or greater using standard risk assessment models
  • Have a BRCA 1 or 2 mutation
  • Have a first-degree relative with a BRCA 1 or 2 mutation
  • Received radiation treatment to the chest between ages 10 and 30
  • Carry or have a first-degree relative with genetic mutation in the TP53 or PTEN genes

The High-Risk Breast Clinic is located at the Women's Diagnostic Center, 10020 Donald Powers Drive, in Munster. A physician order is necessary for referral. For more information, call 219-934-8869.