The Cancer Risk Assessment Center at KCBC is here for providers or individuals to learn more about their cancer risk, ways to lower that risk, and provide genetic counseling and testing. Through a risk assessment, we examine information regarding personal and family history that can influence cancer risk. The results will allow us to develop a personalized treatment plan with the expectation of prevention and or early detection for cancer. Below is more information regarding cancer risk and risk factors:
What does cancer risk mean? Risk is the probability that an event will happen. When talking about cancer, risk is used to describe the chance a person will develop cancer.
What is a risk factor? A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Risk factors influence the development of cancer but usually do not directly cause the cancer. Some people with multiple risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.
Knowing risk information and risk factors can help a person and providers make informed decisions regarding lifestyle and healthcare decisions such as cancer screening tests (like mammogram or colonoscopy), as well as what age to start screening tests, or if another intervention like surgery or medication is available to lower cancer risk.
Evaluation at the center is available to any person concerned about their cancer risk due to personal or family history. A comprehensive risk assessment may include genetic testing. If genetic testing is appropriate for the individual, then pre and post-test genetic counseling is completed. This counseling becomes critical in order for an individual to know the implications, benefits, and limitations to testing.
Many times in order for health insurance companies to cover genetic testing costs a person needs to be evaluated by a board-certified provider with experience and training in cancer genetics. This can include medical geneticists, physicians and nurses with additional training in genetics, or genetic counselors.
In the past year many changes have occurred regarding breast cancer screening. Multiple recommendations have been released from the American Cancer Society, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Each agency has different ages to begin and end screening, as well as frequency of imaging. Some of this variability in screening is only in reference to women at average risk for breast cancer. The new recommendations from the American Cancer Society and the USPSTF are not intended for women who have a moderate or high risk for breast cancer. The problem this poses is whether both the healthcare provider and woman know her risk level for breast cancer?
Article by: Elizabeth Shieh