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Breast J. 2005 Mar-Apr;11 Suppl 1:S11-9.

Risk assessment: controversies and management of moderate- to high-risk individuals.

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  • 1Breast Center, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


With the current understanding of sporadic and familial breast cancer, it is now possible to identify individuals who have a moderate or high risk of breast cancer. For these individuals, it is useful to perform formal cancer risk assessment and develop an individualized risk reduction plan, including a tailored plan for cancer screening, preventive therapy, and/or prophylactic surgery. Assessment using a predictive model such as the Gail model is particularly useful in individuals at increased risk for sporadic breast cancer. In addition, assessment of risk based on histologic appearance of benign or premalignant breast lesions can be used to identify individuals for whom more aggressive risk reduction strategies are warranted. For individuals who are at risk for familial cancer syndromes, other predictive models are more appropriate. For this extremely high-risk group, genetic testing for mutations in familial cancer susceptibility genes is helpful to identify individuals who would benefit from even more aggressive cancer risk reduction strategies. Strategies to identify the levels of risk for breast cancer, including the identification of moderate, high, or very high risk groups are discussed. Management options for these groups are presented, including who to consider for more aggressive screening, chemoprevention, or prophylactic surgery. Current recommendations for screening, chemoprevention, and surgery for each risk group are presented. The ability to identify individuals at high risk for breast cancer now enables clinicians to intervene to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Aggressive screening, preventive therapy, and prophylactic surgery in moderate- to high-risk individuals should, in the future, significantly reduce the incidence of invasive breast cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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