Everything You Need To Know About Risk-Based Breast Cancer Screenings

Breast cancer remains a big threat to women across the world. Everyday, researchers look for ways to better the detection and treatment methods of breast cancer. One new screening method being proposed is risk-based breast cancer screenings.

What Is Risk-Based Breast Cancer Screening?

Currently, breast cancer screenings function with a one-size-fits all method, asking all women over a certain age to obtain a screening. Risk-based breast cancer screenings looks to shift the practice into a more personalized approach where screenings are assigned based on a woman’s personal risk for developing breast cancer.

This new approach is still being disputed based on it’s pros and cons, and it also has not been adopted as the new medical standard, but it’s important to consider and know what it’s about — it may just be the new future of breast cancer screenings.

How To Determine Who Is Most At-Risk For Breast Cancer?

As researchers move away from a patient’s age as the main reason to receive a breast cancer screening, they consider more the new additions to the breast cancer risk factors list. These risk factors include family history, reproductive history, race, breast density, body mass index, alcohol use, and age at menopause.

Typically, family history and breast density are big factors in determining a woman’s risk for breast cancer, but new studies are looking into other factors that seemingly prove better at determining the level of risk. Some of these factors include genetic variants, sex hormone levels, types of breast density and biopsy findings.

Pros Of Risk-Based Breast Cancer Screenings

  • Women with a high-risk profile could get earlier and more frequent screenings with better imaging technologies.

  • Women who are low-risk could be screened less often and avoid any potential harms, such as false-positives that lead to other unnecessary screenings.

  • Current guidelines differ on what age to begin breast screenings (depending on which you or your doctor goes by). Risk-based screenings who not be based much on age, and more on a patient’s personal list of risk factors.

  • Pushes for research on new and better imaging modalities

  • Reduces patient healthcare costs

Cons Of Risk-Based Breast Cancer Screening

  • Uncertainty of guidelines that determine which factors make patients more at-risk than others.

  • Women who are considered at low or average-risk for breast cancer may suffer from false sense of security and not place much value on screenings.

  • Delaying the start or frequency of breast cancer screenings may affect early detection in women who are considered at low or average-risk for breast cancer.

More Information

Risk-based breast cancer screenings aren’t anything patients need to worry about yet. Nonetheless, it is important to know whether you are personally at-risk for breast cancer, in which case you may want to receive breast cancer screenings at an earlier age or more often. To learn what your risk for breast cancer is, feel free to contact us or book an appointment for our Women’s Imaging services at Rosetta Radiology today!

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