What to Do If You Have a High Risk of Breast Cancer
If you’re at high risk of breast cancer, you probably have a lot of questions. Your breast health risk assessment gave you an idea of where to start finding answers, but here are some more specifics that can help you make sense of your path forward.
Understand the Urgency
Breast cancer doesn’t wait — neither should you. You’ve been given a heads-up about your health that many women don’t get before it’s too late. Take advantage of this opportunity to strike first. Confronting breast cancer is scary, but early detection is your best chance to fight back.
The first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Bring along a copy of your results, and a list of questions to ask. We’ve provided some starting points below:
- What kids of breast cancer are there?
- What parts of my lifestyle increase my risk?
- How often should I come back in to check on my breast health?
- What are the risks to the rest of my family?
- Should I get genetic testing done?
- Is my breast tissue dense, and is that a factor in detecting cancer?
- If a screening shows something, what’s my next step?
- If anything is found, will I need a biopsy?
- How often should I come in for a mammogram?
- If more treatment is needed, can you refer me to a breast health specialist?
- Can you recommend any support groups?
Know What to Expect at Your Visit
You and your doctor will work together to make a comprehensive plan for your breast health. You’ll discuss any lifestyle changes you may want to consider, as well as a routine for checking your breasts. They’ll recommend self-exams you can do at home and a schedule for annual screenings.
Your doctor might want you to have a mammogram during your visit. Community offers 3D mammography, which is the latest screening technology. This procedure gets a significantly better view of your breast tissue than traditional screenings, so there are fewer false positives. You can learn more about 3D mammograms and their benefits right here.
Get Your Screening
If you’ve never had a mammogram, here’s what will happen. A radiologic technician will place your breasts one at a time between an x-ray plate and a plastic plate. The plates will compress the breasts to spread the breast tissue out and obtain a clearer picture.
A mammogram takes less than half an hour, and can give you peace of mind for the rest of the year. If you don’t want to wait until the day of your doctor’s appointment, you can find a convenient location for a walk-in mammogram right here.