Breast cancer risk assessment

Creating a personalized plan to evaluate and manage your risk of breast cancer

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Assessing your risk for breast cancer and preventing it from occurring requires a personalized approach. Many different factors play important roles in determining your risk. Duke’s breast specialists help you determine your risk of breast cancer and then tailor your breast care plan to your individual needs.

What is your risk for developing breast cancer?

Several factors increase your risk for breast cancer including:

  • Your gender and age
  • Your weight, smoking, diet, alcohol, and exercise habits
  • Family history and genetic predisposition
  • Menstruation, pregnancy, and hormone replacement therapy
  • Dense breasts on imaging and certain breast changes identified on breast biopsy 

As breast specialists, we take these factors and more into consideration when personalizing a plan to help you manage your breast health. After a comprehensive consultation, we order appropriate breast imaging, determine next steps, and provide an overall management strategy for your future breast health.

After your breast cancer risk is assessed

If you are average risk, you may be given a schedule for routine screening under the care of your primary care doctor.

If you are above average risk, you may be given a schedule for increased screening, which may include additional breast imaging and routine follow-up in the Breast Risk Assessment Clinic.

If an abnormality is identified, you may be referred to the breast specialists at our breast clinic for additional testing.

If you have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, or one is suspected, you may benefit from the close relationship our breast specialists have with the genetic counselors in Duke’s Hereditary Cancer Clinic. We can arrange for you to undergo genetic counseling and testing, if appropriate.

Choose Duke for your personalized breast risk assessment

  • We offer mammography at six convenient locations in Durham and Wake counties. Same-day appointments are available, and you can get same-day results during our Saturday clinics.
  • Our nationally accredited breast imaging program is an American College of Radiology Breast Center of Excellence. This means it has undergone a rigorous review process to ensure it meets and follows national standards and guidelines. It is accredited in breast ultrasound, breast MRI, screening mammograms, diagnostic mammograms, and stereotactic biopsies.
  • If you are identified as ‘at risk’ for an inherited breast cancer, you may be referred to our genetic counselors. If appropriate, they may recommend testing for BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes — the most common cause of hereditary breast cancer — and will help you interpret your results. With these facts, they can discuss the options that will keep you and your family healthy. Genetic testing for other causes of hereditary breast cancer are performed when necessary. 
  • If needed, you will have immediate access to the entire scope of our nationally recognized breast cancer program, which includes the most advanced breast imaging technology and breast cancer treatments, medical and surgical care, clinical trials, patient and family support, and advanced breast reconstruction techniques.

Comprehensive consultation

Your customized breast care evaluation and plan may include:

Breast imaging technology

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