Identifying and counseling women at increased risk for breast cancer

Deborah J. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Women at increased risk for breast cancer should be identified and counseled about options for risk reduction. Identifying such women is simplified with use of the National Cancer Institute Risk Assessment tool, a computer-based tool that incorporates information on 6 risk factors for estimating an individual's risk of developing breast cancer. However, the tool does not incorporate all known or possible risk factors and may underestimate risk, particularly among women with a complex family history of breast cancer for whom alternative models of risk assessment are more appropriate. Women found to have an increased risk of breast cancer should be counseled about options for management, including close surveillance, lifestyle modifications, chemoprevention with tamoxifen, enrollment in a breast cancer prevention clinical trial, and prophylactic mastectomy and/or oophorectomy. In the absence of consensus about which risk level is best suited to which option, decisions about risk reduction depend as much on an individual's priorities and risk aversion as on numerical risk estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-361
Number of pages7
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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