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Risk
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We are starting to understand some, but not all of the factors that determine if a person is likely to develop breast cancer. It is now clear that genetics plays an important role for some people, how our bodies function also plays a critical role, environmental exposures or other medical treatments can contribute, and from a practical standpoint the awareness of your own risk and careful attention to recommended screening affects the outcome if you do develop breast cancer. We now have several models that permit us to get an estimate of any one individual's risk of developing cancer. The most common is the Gail model.

Many hospitals and medical centers offer breast cancer treatment, but few provide long term comprehensive high risk assessment and management. UC Irvine is one of the few Comprehensive Breast Centers to offer a high risk program that encompasses all of the components necessary to truly provide comprehensive care. UC Irvine uses a multidisciplinary team approach and incorporates cutting edge research. Dr. Karen Lane and Edie Smith, NP are members of UC Irvine's high risk breast cancer clinic. This is where patients at high risk for breast cancer will be evaluated by a breast surgeon and a nurse practitioner with additional training in genetic counseling. The patient will receive a thorough history and physical that reviews all the patient's risk factors including family history and a complete breast exam.  Imaging studies will be ordered as appropriate including breast MRI for those who meet the guidelines for MRI in certain high risk patients.  Any x-rays or pathology slides from outside hospitals will be reviewed by our physicians and recommendations will be given regarding follow-up for high risk patients. As breast cancer prevention research is ongoing and continually being updated, women in the High Risk Program have access to the latest information and have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials conducted at UC Irvine.

Scientists and Physicians at UC Irvine are working to provide better tools for understanding and assessing an individual's risk, to decrease that risk and prevent them from developing breast cancer, and to improve screening through research.

Dr. Hoda Anton-Culver is using epidemiology and population studies to identify new risk factors and determine if specific environmental exposures contribute to a person's risk of developing breast cancer. Dr. Eva Lee is using sophisticated laboratory models to determine how various genetic events contribute, alone and importantly in combination, to the development of breast cancer. These studies are likely to lead to much better models for estimating risk and to identify new targets inside breast cells for decreasing this risk.
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>> See also "Prevention"
>> See also "Screening"