Because breast cancer continues to cause many deaths in women between ages 35 and 54, there is a need for accurate assessment of the risk. Knowing whether you are at high risk can help you make appropriate decisions regarding risk-lowering strategies, interventions, and lifestyle changes.
Management options for high-risk breast cancer include prophylactic mastectomy, surveillance protocols, and intense screening. Undergoing genetic testing to identify mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 can also help stratify the risks. A high fiber, low-fat diet, moderate exercise, and low consumption of alcohol can help to lower your risk of breast cancer.
Lowering your risks for breast cancer should be a priority. A high-risk management program can help you with clinical evaluation, regular screenings, genetic counseling, and personalized recommendations for follow-up care. However, each patient gets an individualized high-risk management recommendation based on their age, heredity, and health.
Here’s how you can manage your risks for breast cancer;
- Genetic Counseling and Testing– If you are at high risk due to family or personal history, you should consider genetic testing. You can discuss your options with a genetic expert before undergoing testing. A genetic test requires your DNA sample, which can be obtained through a cheek swab
- Surveillance– Your doctor may recommend further tests to complement your yearly digital mammography. These included breast MRI, detailed mammography, and more
- Chemoprevention– Chemoprevention (chemoprophylaxis) uses medication to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. The medicines help to reduce the effects of estrogen on the body
- Surgical Procedures– Opting to undergo surgery to manage your breast cancer risk is a personal decision. Prophylactic surgery can lower the risk of breast cancer. Your options include preventive mastectomy (removing all breast tissue), or preventive salpingo-oophorectomy (removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes). Afterward, you can undergo reconstructive surgery
- Screening– A digital mammography can help you understand your risk for breast cancer and guide you on proper measures to take to reduce your risk. You may need further evaluation to determine the options you have for your condition
- Making Lifestyle Changes– Regular exercises, quitting smoking, lowering alcohol consumption, and losing weight can help reduce your risk for breast cancer
High-risk management for breast cancer requires a collaborative approach from surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, and other experts. This will help you to decide on the appropriate measure to consider based on your evaluation results.