Options for Women at Higher Risk
Some risk factors put women at a high risk of breast cancer.
Women at higher risk of breast cancer
Factors that greatly increase the risk of breast cancer include :
- A BRCA1 or BRCA2 inherited gene mutation (and first-degree relatives of people with BRCA1/2 mutations who have not been tested for BRCA1/2 mutations themselves)
- A personal history of invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- A personal history of lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia
- Radiation treatment to the chest area between ages 10-30
- Li-Fraumeni, Cowden/PTEN or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome (and first-degree relatives)
- An ATM, BARD1, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, NBN, NF1, PALB2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, STK11 or TP53 inherited gene mutation
- A greater than 20 percent lifetime risk of invasive breast cancer based mainly on family history (Estimate your lifetime risk or learn more about risk.)
Some factors increase breast cancer risk a modest amount (such as usual hyperplasia). Having more than one of these factors may also put a woman at high risk.
Talk with your health care provider about your risk of breast cancer.
Learn more about estimating breast cancer risk.
Breast cancer screening
There are special screening guidelines for some women at higher than average risk of breast cancer [155,157].
If you’re at higher risk of breast cancer, talk with your health care provider about the screening plan that’s best for you. You may need to be screened earlier and more often than other women.
Learn more about breast cancer screening for women at higher risk.
If you have a high risk of breast cancer, options to lower your risk may include:
Talk with your health care provider about the pros and cons of these options. You may want to get a second opinion.
Take the time to make decisions that are right for you. Don’t feel you need to rush.
Insurance issues and financial assistance
If you have insurance issues (such as what to do if a claim is denied) or need help paying for genetic testing, risk-lowering drugs or other out-of-pocket expenses, there are resources that may help.
Prescription drug assistance
Medicare and many insurance companies offer prescription drug plans. One may already be included in your policy. Or, you may be able to buy an extra plan for prescriptions.
You may also qualify for assistance from programs that help with drug costs or offer low-cost or free prescriptions.
The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans (started on or after September 24, 2014) to cover the cost (with no co-payments) of the risk-lowering drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene for women at high risk of breast cancer. Learn more about this coverage.
There are also generic versions of the drugs used to lower the risk of breast cancer. Generic drugs cost less than the name brands, but are just as effective.
Learn more about prescription drug assistance programs.
Susan G. Komen® created the Komen Treatment Assistance Program to help those struggling with the costs of breast cancer treatment by providing financial assistance to eligible individuals.
Funding is available for eligible individuals of any age undergoing breast cancer treatment, at any stage of the disease. To learn more about this program and other helpful resources, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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