High-Risk Breast Cancer Screening Clinic

Three women, joyful to be well, together.

Manage your risk

Roughly 12% of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. For some, the risk is higher. Depending on your DNA, your lifetime risk may be as high as 85%.

If you have a higher risk, it’s important that you get screened for breast cancer early and often.

Screening is vital because the earlier you find cancer, the better your outcome. The five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 99% if it’s caught early. The rate drops to 30% if it’s caught late.

Our high-risk breast cancer screening clinic can help you:

  • Figure out your risk
  • Set up regular screenings to monitor your health
  • Take steps to reduce your risk

Ask your primary care provider if these services are right for you.

What is considered high risk for breast cancer?

Generally speaking, you are considered at high risk for breast cancer if your lifetime risk is 20% or more.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

Being female

Women are roughly 1,000 times more likely to get breast cancer than men.

Getting older

The risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. Most cases are diagnosed in people who are at least 50 years old.

Breast cancer genes

We inherit copies of our genes from our parents. Sometimes the copies we inherit are damaged or not copied right. Damaged copies (also known as variants) of some genes put you at higher risk. Your risk depends on the variant, but it’s higher if you have variants in any of these genes:

  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • PALB2
  • TP53
  • PTEN
  • ATM
  • CHEK2
  • NF1
  • CDH1
  • BARD1
  • RAD51C
  • RAD51D
  • STK11

We may recommend genetic counseling to find out if you have a variant.

Family history

You may be at higher risk if you have more than one first- or second-degree relative who has had breast cancer. This includes:

First degree:

  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Child

Second degree:

  • Aunt or uncle
  • Niece or nephew
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Half-sibling

Other risk factors

  • You have dense breasts.
  • You drink alcohol.
  • You’ve had breast biopsies or breast surgery that showed abnormal cells, such as:
    • Atypical ductal hyperplasia
    • Atypical lobular hyperplasia
    • Lobular carcinoma in situ
  • You had cancer as a child and were treated with radiation therapy to the chest.

How do I know if I’m at high risk for breast cancer?

If you have any risk factors, make an appointment with us. We’ll review:

  • Your family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  • Your medical history
  • Your breast density
  • Your breast biopsy history

We use a risk assessment tool to estimate your risk of breast cancer. Based on your results, we may recommend genetic counseling.

This visit can be in person or in a virtual visit using a secure video link.

What should I do if I’m at high risk for breast cancer?

The first thing is to set up regular screenings. It’s vital to catch breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Outlook is best when cancer is found in the earliest stages.

We can help you set up a long-term screening plan based on your risk.

You may also take steps to reduce your risk.

How can I reduce my risk of breast cancer?

You can’t cut your risk to zero. But you can take steps now to improve your chances. Experts recommend:

  • Getting enough exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Drinking less alcohol

We may recommend some prescription drugs to lower your risk:

  • Tamoxifen
  • Raloxifene
  • Aromatase inhibitors

Ask your provider for more ideas on cutting your risk of cancer.

Learn more

For patients

Call 503-494-4673 to:

  • Make an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


OHSU Breast Center, South Waterfront

Center for Health & Healing, Building 2, ninth floor
3485 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239

Free parking for patients and visitors

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