High-Risk Breast Care

El Camino Health provides risk assessment, diagnosis and treatment with a warm, caring touch.

We help identify, monitor and support women who have an elevated risk of developing breast cancer. With our program, you’ll benefit from the collaboration of experts from our women’s health services and the Lurie Women's Imaging Center.

What Does "High Risk" Mean?

Women are often identified as high risk because of a genetic mutation, a permanent change in a gene’s normal structure. Two genes that are known to be associated with an increased risk for breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who test positive for either mutation have up to an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and up to a 44 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Additionally, both men and women who carry a BRCA mutation may be at increased risk for other cancers. Only genetic testing can determine whether a woman has one of the BRCA mutations. There are other genetic mutations that can lead to breast cancer, but they’re less common and don’t increase the risk as much as BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Dense breast tissue is an additional risk factor, which makes reading mammograms difficult. Women who have dense breast tissue often require additional methods of screening.

How We Help Protect You

At El Camino Health, we believe it’s essential to screen all women for elevated breast cancer risk, so we include it with each routine mammogram. While yearly mammograms are a standard part of the annual checkup for most women over 40, women at high risk need to be monitored more often.

If you have a genetic predisposition or dense breast tissue, we’ll:

  • Assess your risk factors.
  • Counsel you about your condition and options. 
  • Help you initiate an ongoing, personalized surveillance and a prevention plan.

What to Expect

When you arrive, you’ll complete a Breast History profile. Be ready to discuss:

  • Your medical history.
  • The history of cancer in your family; and their age at diagnosis. 
  • Prior tests and procedures relating to your breast health.

History profile results are discussed with you and your referring doctor. If you’re identified as having an increased breast cancer risk, we’ll pair you with one of our breast health experts to explain your results, answer your questions and discuss next steps.

The High Risk Breast Program is supported by donations to El Camino Health Foundation.