Breast Cancer Genetic Counseling & Risk Assessment

Am I at Risk for Breast Cancer?

One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. No one knows the exact cause of breast cancer, although there are certain factors that may increase one’s risk. At Lahey’s Comprehensive Breast Health Center, we strive to educate you as much as possible about your chances of developing breast cancer based on known risk factors such as:

  • Age
  • Family history of breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer
  • Genetic alterations
  • Results of prior breast biopsies
  • Radiation therapy to the chest
  • Reproductive and menstrual history

Educating our patients also means breaking some of the myths surrounding what causes breast cancer. Presently, there is no valid research data supporting claims that any of the following causes breast cancer:

  • Antiperspirants
  • Underwire bras
  • Breast implants
  • Antibiotics

Genetic Counseling & Risk Assessment

Lahey offers a Familial Cancer Risk Assessment Clinic for women who are at increased risk for developing breast cancer based on their family history. Patients can receive a comprehensive evaluation by a genetic counselor and by the risk assessment team. If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, genetic testing may help guide your doctors with your treatment.

Lahey also offers patients a risk assessment app to help determine personal risk for breast cancer. Anyone getting a mammogram at a Lahey site will have access to the app. This Cancer Risk Assessment (CRA) tool can establish a patient’s lifetime risk for developing breast cancer.

In addition to individualized risk assessments, genetic counseling provides information about:

  • Genetic mutations
  • Patterns of transmission
  • The benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • Potential risks to other members of the family

Make an Appointment

To better understand your risks of breast cancer, or to make an appointment, contact our Risk Assessment Clinic.