Every woman age 35 or older has a complimentary risk assessment completed with their mammogram performed at any of our Women’s Diagnostic Centers. If your risk of developing breast cancer is greater than normal, we can help. The High Risk Breast Clinics, available at the Women's Diagnostic Centers in East Chicago, Hobart, Munster and Valparaiso, offer peace of mind for women at increased risk for breast cancer. The clinics are run by certified Nurse Practitioners who are experts in the field and provide individualized recommendations for prevention and surveillance to patients at increased risk.
Services include a clinical breast exam, education about breast self-exams, screening tests, education about breast cancer risk, a personalized surveillance plan, and prevention strategies. 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 increasing age, 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:
- 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.
Risk Reducing Drug Therapy:
- Risk reducing drug therapies have been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 49% in women at high risk.
- Surgery is perhaps the most life-changing approach women may take to reduce breast cancer risk, but is an option available to women with a genetic tendency for breast cancer.
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
To Schedule an appointment at one of our High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic, call:
Community Hospital: 219-934-8869
St. Catherine Hospital: 219-392-7346
St. Mary Medical Center: 219-947-6830