Sanford's new High Risk Breast Cancer Surveillance Program is specifically created to provide consistent screening and follow-up for breast cancer survivors and women with high risk factors for breast cancer.
Women tend to worry — about their families, their finances and, sometimes, their health. Women with high risk factors for breast cancer live under a constant cloud of worry, waiting for their worst fears to come true.
“Many women I see live in fear. Maybe they’ve had a family member with breast cancer, and they have many ‘what ifs’ impacting their life,“ said Kirke Wheeler, MD, a Sanford surgeon who works with high risk cancer patients. “Through our new high risk surveillance clinic at Sanford, we can help calm that worry so they can focus on other aspects of their life.”
Sanford’s new High Risk Breast Cancer Surveillance Program is specifically created to provide consistent screening and follow-up for breast cancer survivors and women with high risk factors for breast cancer. The program gives women peace of mind through genetic counseling and screenings with the most thorough technologies. This helps identify potential areas of concern long before they could be found with traditional techniques.
Who is considered high risk?
There are multiple factors that can identify a woman as high risk for breast cancer including a personal history or family history of the disease, carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, two genes closely associated with breast cancer, or having extremely dense breast tissue.
What is the High Risk Breast Cancer Surveillance Program?
Sanford Breast Health Institute brings together all of Sanford’s breast health specialists to provide education and advanced screening to women in the high risk program.
“Our team works diligently to identify breast cancer early, increasing the odds for successful treatment,” added Michael Keppen, MD, with the Sanford Cancer Center Hematology and Oncology. Sanford’s board certified genetic counselors provide women with education regarding the genetic factors involved in breast cancer. With this information, women are armed with the education they need to manage their genetic risk for the disease. “For some women, hearing the word ‘gene’ or ‘genetic’ can be a scary thing. Genetic counselors, however, are uniquely trained to help take complex – and sometimes scary – information and translate it into something that is more easily understood,” said genetic counselor Quinn Stein, MS, CGC.
The High Risk Breast Surveillance Team includes:
• The region’s only fellowship trained breast radiologist
• Board certified surgeons dedicated to breast health
• Board certified genetic counselors
• Board certified medical oncologists
Women in the program also have access to the most advanced screening technologies available.
Full Field Digital Mammography creates enhanced images of breast tissue, allowing physicians to identify areas of concern while they are still small.
Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) uses blood flow and metabolism to locate and diagnose areas of concern for high risk breast cancer patients.
3T Breast MRI uses magnetic resonance technology with a high-contrast dye to locate and highlight areas of concern with great detail. The exam produces hundreds of 3D images to give physicians valuable information about breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging tests. The 3T MRI is used in conjunction with mammography to provide advanced breast screening.
“These advanced screening techniques allow us to rule out breast cancer or find it while it is still extremely small,” said Thomas Cink, MD, a member of Sanford Breast Health Institute’s team.
The new High Risk Breast Cancer Surveillance Program works to calm the intense fear so women at high risk for breast cancer can focus on their life — not their risk factors.
For more information, visit www.sanfordcancercare.org, talk to your a Sanford Clinic physician or call (605) 328-5244.