Christiana Care Breast Centerat the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute

High-Risk Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program

For women who carry an alteration in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer is much higher than in other women. For these women, the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is as high as 85 percent, and cancer can occur at a much younger age.

Depending on which gene alterations a woman carries, her risks for developing ovarian cancer are between 16 and 45 percent. For women with BRCA2 gene alterations, the risks are higher for developing other cancers as well. These include melanoma and cancer of the pancreas, gallbladder, stomach and colon.

Today, more than ever, there are preventive options to consider. Christiana Care’s High-Risk Breast and Ovarian Cancer Surveillance Program helps women at risk to face the challenges ahead, and to maximize health and well-being for the future.

Are you at high risk for breast or ovarian cancer?

If your family history indicates that you might carry elevated risk, then your doctor may recommend that you undergo a genetic test to find out if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene alteration. If the gene alteration is detected, then the High-Risk Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program can provide you with the laboratory and imaging tests, consultations and support that are appropriate for you. Tests may include a clinical breast exam and clinical breast-exam self-instruction, 3D digital mammogram, breast MRI, CA-125 blood test or pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound.

Based on your test results, you may choose to speak with other doctors about possible preventive strategies, including surgery and clinical trials. We can provide you with referrals, or your primary-care doctor may make them for you.

Information to empower you, not to worry you

Understanding your risk can help you to prevent cancer from occurring or detect cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Learning about your risk for cancer can understandably make you feel nervous or anxious. That is why we provide you with support through each step of the process. If you wish to speak with other specialists about your concerns, your clinical nurse specialist can connect you with psychosocial support services through the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Christiana Care Breast Center
Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, Suite 1400 (West Entrance)
4701 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, DE 19713 directions