Are you at high risk for breast cancer? Clinical breast exams and regular mammograms are important, but identifying true risk requires a deeper dive into your family and medical history and overall lifestyle. Beaufort Memorial Hospital is developing tools and programs to help women identify their risk for breast cancer so that they can be managed and treated locally.
“Understanding your risk is the first step, but maintaining a relationship with trained specialists who can monitor your breast health over time is the key to detecting potential cancers early and starting treatment quickly, if needed,” says BMH Breast Program Leader Perry Burrus, MD, FACS. Dr. Burrus and his partners at Beaufort Memorial Surgical Specialists have spent years managing breast surgery patients after surgery.
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Beaufort Memorial Keyserling Cancer Center recently launched a free online risk assessment tool to encourage women to evaluate their risk level. The online assessment offers opportunities for women to manage their risk proactively based on their assessed risk level. “If a woman completes an assessment and learns she has an increased level of risk, we want to encourage her to take the next step for her health,” says Beaufort Memorial Breast Care Coordinator Jackie Brown, RN.
Next steps can include discussing results with a primary care physician or scheduling an appointment with a breast care coordinator for further evaluation.
High-risk women will be contacted directly by a specialist and offered a follow-up evaluation. These patients will be monitored more closely than the general population with the goal of detecting any breast cancer that might develop at an early stage, when it’s much easier to treat. That could involve more frequent mammograms and clinical breast exams as well as MRIs.
Women who are identified through the online assessment as being at high risk will be encouraged to complete further follow-up. They can rest assured that Beaufort Memorial, with its multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and care coordinators has the resources and experts in place to develop a care plan that meets their specific needs.