University of Cincinnati Institute Opens Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Program

University of Cincinnati Institute Opens Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Program

With the aim of identifying people at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, and preventing progression in those who are, the University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Center has started a risk assessment and management program.

While one in eight women will at some point develop breast cancer, the average risk during a 10-year timeframe is less than one in 25. Experts now can better spot those at moderately high or very high risk.

 That’s where the new Center comes in.

“The goals of the high risk program are to promote awareness of levels of breast and ovarian cancer risk to patients, families and healthcare providers, and to provide an expert evaluation for the management of high-risk patients,” Elyse Lower, center director and a professor at the UC College of Medicine, said in a press release.

Based on individual risk assessment, Lower said, patients will be offered genetic testing and counseling, along with primary prevention methods to lower the likelihood of cancer development. Patients found to be at risk have the option of being referred to specialists either at UC or in the greater Cincinnati area, or of seeking their own care. The university’s team includes several oncologists and an imaging specialist, with the program planned to operate on Monday mornings. 

“Patients will receive a personalized care plan evaluating risk and the next steps,” Lower said of the program’s interdisciplinary approach. “They will also receive individual navigation to ensure that appropriate tests and follow up are offered.”

High-risk individuals include those with strong family histories of breast (male or female) cancer and/or ovarian cancer; known personal or family genetic abnormality in a breast cancer gene, such as BRCA, CHEK-2 or Palb B2; a previous breast biopsy showing atypical results; a history of chest wall radiation to treat Hodgkin’s disease; dense breasts on imaging; and a Gail model breast cancer risk of at least 1.67 percent over the next five years, or a greater than 20 percent lifetime risk.

Also known as the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, the Gail model is often used by healthcare providers to estimate risk.

Risk-reduction plans could include genetic testing, diagnostic mammograms, magnetic resonance imaging, preventive surgeries such as mastectomies or hysterectomies, or chemo prevention.

“A high risk clinic like ours can provide data which can foster research collaboration within the institution, region and other academic centers as well,” Lower said. “Comprehensive assessment and management is an unmet need in our region, and we’re so happy to provide this tool for individuals at risk.”

For more information or to make an appointment, call 513-584-RISK. The program, also called a clinic, is housed in the Institute’s UC Barrett Cancer Center.

The UC Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Center has been designated a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Such designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that earn accreditation in all ACR voluntary programs and modules, and complete the mammography accreditation program.