Published on March 12, 2019

Essentia Health now offering High-Risk Breast Program

Providing peace of mind through partnership

Essentia Health is now offering High-Risk Breast Program at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center. This new program is focused on identifying and managing individuals at high risk for developing breast cancer. The program specifically focuses on the individual’s risk for developing breast cancer and how to intervene most appropriately to monitor for breast cancer and reduce their risk. A comprehensive evaluation includes discussion about the individual’s personal and family medical history which is utilized to calculate and determine the individual’s risk for developing breast cancer. Education and counseling is provided specific to protective factors and strategies proven to effectively reduce risk. Patients and the Nurse Practitioner partner together to form a personalized plan of care in an effort to reduce their risk for breast cancer and provide the patient and their primary care provider with the most appropriate surveillance measures to screen for breast cancer.

“Implementing programs, such as the high risk breast clinic, to evaluate individuals that may be at higher risk for developing breast cancer, providing education, and developing a plan of care in an effort to help reduce their risk and optimize surveillance measures when appropriate is something I think every health care organization should be doing”, says Dr. Aby Philip, Section Chair of Hematology/Oncology at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center. “Anything that we can do to reduce one’s risk and optimize surveillance measures for breast cancer is in everyone’s best interest.”

Who should be evaluated in the High-Risk Breast Program?

  • Women who have:
    • several close relatives on the same side of the family with breast cancer
    • a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer at age 50 or less.
    • two first degree relatives (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer at any age
    • a close male relative with breast cancer at any age
  • If you or a close family member have an abnormal gene that increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • If you have had radiation treatments to the chest area under the age of 30 for Hodgkin’s Disease or lymphoma.
  • Women who took DES (diethylstilbestrol) in the 1940’s to 1960’s to prevent miscarriage.

To make an appointment, first meet with your primary care or OB/GYN provider. They can place a referral to the program on your behalf.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage, please ask to speak to a financial counselor at the time of your appointment.

Essentia Health Mammogram Screening Guidelines
Essentia Health recommends annual mammography for women beginning at age 40 through ages 75. The potential risks and benefits from screening after age 75 have not been thoroughly investigated. However, this population is at risk for developing breast cancer and may benefit from continued screening. The Breast Program recommends that patients over the age of 75 discuss the potential risks and benefits of continued screening with their primary care provider.