Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. It is estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Each woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is different and depends on her lifestyle, family health history and other factors.
Atlantic Medical Imaging has instituted a comprehensive risk assessment questionnaire that will help determine a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. The risk assessment questionnaire includes several questions, among which are your age, race, personal medical history and your family’s history of cancer.
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease. There are different kinds of risk factors. Some risk factors are related to your personal history such as your age, race or family history. Others are related to personal behaviors, such as smoking, drinking and diet. Some factors influence risk more than others, and your risk can change over time, due to factors such as aging or lifestyle.
Risk factors specific to breast cancer include family history, age over 40, menstrual history, age at first child, radiation of the breast, or prior breast biopsies with high risk pathology.
The American Cancer Society considers women who have a lifetime risk assessment score of 20% or greater to be at high risk for breast cancer. A high risk score does not necessarily mean that you will develop breast cancer. It indicates that you have certain risk factors that put you in a high risk category.
For women at high risk, the American Cancer Society recommends an annual screening mammogram along with a screening breast MRI. The American Cancer Society believes the use of mammograms, breast MRI (for women at high risk), clinical breast exams and finding and reporting breast changes early can help save lives. Your lifetime risk assessment score will be included in the mammography report that is sent to your healthcare provider. If your score is 20% or greater, a member of the AMI Women’s Center staff will contact you to review the results and discuss next steps. It is strongly recommended that you discuss your results with your healthcare provider.