port of harlem magazine
Do You Know Your Breast Cancer Lifetime Risk Score?
Apr 18 – May 01, 2024

oliva munn

A breast cancer risk assessment score looks at several key risk factors including your overall age, family history, past biopsies and reproductive status. Munn received an overall lifetime risk score of 37% so her care team recommended she received an MRI, then an ultrasound and a biopsy.

“The breast cancer risk assessment score is pretty accurate,” says Dr. Irene Israel, a breast surgeon at Advocate Health Care. “If you have a score greater than 20%, you should supplement annual mammograms with an annual MRI. Women who have category C or D dense breasts (breasts that are mostly glandular tissue and little fat tissue) on their mammograms should be offered supplemental screening with ultrasound or MRI, if high risk. This is because the sensitivity of the mammogram is decreased in these densities.”

After her supplemental screenings, Munn was diagnosed with fast growing luminal b breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. The risk calculator helped her receive treatment early which is when cancer is more treatable.

“The notable thing about Olivia’s story is that even without a genetic abnormality you can still develop breast cancer,” says Dr. Israel. “80% women who develop breast cancer do not have any family history or genetic abnormality. If you have a family history of breast cancer and a negative genetic test, then you should still get screened as high risk.”

If you have questions about your lifetime risk, contact your doctor.

Want to learn about your risk for breast cancer? Take health enews' free online quiz.
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