Diving deep into family history, lifestyle, gives women full picture of breast health
Legacy Cancer Institute’s new risk assessment introduces women identified as ‘at-risk’ to its new High-Risk Breast Clinic for genetic and lifestyle counseling
In addition to getting your annual mammogram starting at age 40, having a clear understanding how your lifestyle and family tree impacts your risk of getting breast cancer is another powerful way to prevent or catch it in its most treatable stages.
With this in mind, Legacy Cancer Institute launched a pilot program at Legacy Breast Health Center – Good Samaritan this month, which offers a comprehensive online breast cancer risk assessment to ten annual screening mammogram patients per day.
“Establishing a woman’s lifetime risk at the time of her annual screening mammogram will provide her with a comprehensive look into her overall breast health,” said Margie Glissmeyer, PA-C, Legacy Medical Group – Surgical Oncology, who championed the new program.
Jennifer Wilson, 44, manager of Legacy Medical Group – Surgical Oncology, was one of the first women to take Legacy Cancer Institute’s new comprehensive breast cancer risk assessment, which dives deep into family history, lifestyle, hormonal shifts and then produces a pedigree and calculates the patient’s overall lifetime risk.
“Working in cancer care for 15 years, I have learned a lot about the importance of breast genetics and understanding the full picture of your breast health,” said Wilson. “This assessment taught me it’s not just about the branches of your tree, but also the leaves.”
Patients will be sent the assessment prior to their appointment to ensure they have enough time to input their lifestyle factors and research their family history.
“I have always worried because my grandma had breast cancer and my mother had cervical cancer,” said Wilson. “After doing the research and outlining my health profile, it was a huge relief to find out that I am not considered high-risk for breast cancer.”
Legacy Cancer Institute plans to eventually offer the assessment to all women who get mammograms at each of Legacy’s Breast Health Centers.
High-Risk Breast Clinic
Upon completion of the assessment, a Legacy Breast Health Center Nurse will discuss results at the mammogram appointment and if risk is identified, will refer patients to Legacy Cancer Institute’s new High-Risk Breast Clinic for genetic counseling; education about risk reduction strategies such as proper nutrition, exercise and avoiding carcinogens; or additional screening that may be needed.
“Our new High-Risk Breast Clinic will empower our patients with an individualized roadmap outlining what strategies they can to adopt to lower their risk and establish ongoing observation to catch a possible cancer as early as possible, which an offering that is unique to Legacy,” said Glissmeyer.
Advanced Screening Capabilities
Patients who were deemed at-risk and have extremely dense breast tissue will have access to Legacy’s advanced secondary screening and diagnostic capabilities:
Molecular Breast Imaging
This month, Legacy Breast Health Center – Good Samaritan became the first on the west coast to offer Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) as a complementary diagnostic tool to detect breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue after a questionable mammogram. Mammography and ultrasound try to find masses within the breast that “look” suspicious. MBI tries to find masses that “act” suspicious by analyzing the metabolic activity of the tissue, which can help to differentiate benign from malignant as they often look alike on mammography or ultrasound.
Last October, Legacy became the first provider in Oregon to offer the supplemental screening option of 3-D ultrasound to women with extremely dense breasts and who were determined to have an average or intermediate lifetime risk of getting breast cancer.
For more information about Legacy Cancer Institute’s breast health services, click here.
Contact Megan Deisler with media-related inquiries.
1: Jenn Wilson reviewing her family tree.
2: Margie Glissmeyer, P.A., Legacy Medical Group – Surgical Oncology, who championed the new program.
3: A Legacy Breast Health Center nurse discusses assessment results with a patient.
4: Kari Thomas, M.D., radiologist at Legacy Breast Health Center - Good Samaritan discusses a 3-D Ultrasound image a patient.
5: Dr. Thomas reviewing mammograms in her office at Legacy Breast Health Center - Good Samaritan.