High-Risk Breast Cancer Program | Women and Men | MedStar Health
Emily Kuchinsky sits at a table and talks with a patient about genetic counseling.

We connect individuals with an increased risk of breast cancer with the tools and support they need.

Thanks to advances in breast cancer screening and genetics, women (and men) can learn lifesaving information about their health and how to proactively manage their risk of disease long before it becomes a problem.

At our High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic, we'll help you understand your risk factors and guide you as you take the best steps towards lowering or managing your breast cancer risk. From genetic counseling and testing to individualized risk-management plans, we connect those with a high risk of developing breast cancer with tools to help them make informed decisions that could save their lives. Whether your primary care doctor refers you to us or you seek us out on your own, you'll be supported and guided by a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts, including:

  • Oncologists
  • Breast surgeons
  • Genetic counselors
  • Breast radiologists
  • And more

With multiple locations throughout the Washington, D.C., and Maryland region, it's easy to access the information, resources, and guidance you need to protect your health.

Program highlights

Our experts use the latest technology and research to empower you to take control of your health. 

Breast cancer can't always be prevented, but it's easy to treat when it's detected early. That's why we offer comprehensive risk assessment and genetic testing for women who may be more likely to develop breast cancer due to an inherited gene mutation or family history. Different statistical models that can help us predict your risk level. We commonly use the Tyrer-Cuzick model to estimate how likely you will develop breast cancer over your lifetime. However, there are other ways we calculate your risk if you have a family or personal history of the disease.

Depending on your calculated risk, we may recommend a variety of interventions to help prevent breast cancer or detect it at its earliest stage. For example, it may be useful to start screenings early or with different types of imaging than someone with an average risk level. Or, you may consider other options to prevent the disease altogether. Our breast cancer experts will help you manage your risk factors and navigate any emotions associated with living at an increased risk of breast cancer. Together, we'll develop a personalized risk-management plan that may include:

  • Earlier and more frequent breast cancer screenings, and potentially using breast MRI and/or screening breast ultrasound in addition to mammography
  • Use of hormone-modifying medications to prevent cancer (called chemoprevention), including drugs like tamoxifen, raloxifene, and aromatase inhibitors
  • Preventative surgery (risk-reducing or prophylactic procedures)
  • Lifestyle modifications, like achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI, limiting alcohol intake, and quitting smoking

Genetic counseling and testing can help you learn about inherited cancer-related genetic mutations.

If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, our board-certified genetic counselors can help you understand how that impacts you. They can also help you weigh the pros and cons of genetic testing, which may reveal genetic risks of developing breast cancer. Most breast cancers aren't hereditary, but some individuals have a predisposition to certain types of cancers based on their genetic makeup. For example, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are gene mutations known for increasing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as other types of cancer.

Genetic testing is a personal decision. Even if you decide you don't want testing, genetic counseling will equip you with the information you need to manage your health—and the next generation of your family.

Learn More about Genetic Counseling

Are you at risk of developing breast cancer?

Portrait of a confident young woman standing at the park. Beautiful female in casuals looking at camera.

Our breast health risk questionnaire takes five minutes to complete and can help you understand your risk factors—and what to do about them. The assessment includes questions related to your:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal medical history
  • Lifestyle

Based on your responses, we can determine your risk level and whether or not you're eligible for a lifesaving breast cancer screening. Regardless of your risk level, we can also connect you to valuable resources within our health system. Our primary care providers can help you make healthy lifestyle modifications that may lower your risk of disease, and we have board-certified genetic counselors who can help you understand any hereditary risks you may have.

Looking for expert cancer care?

With multiple locations throughout the region, patients have access to many of the nation’s renowned cancer specialists offering high quality care, second opinions and a chance for better outcomes close to where they live and work. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the nation’s comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), serves as the research engine allowing patients access to clinical trials that often lead to breakthroughs in cancer care.

Our locations

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MedStar Health: Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd., NW
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20007

MedStar Health: Breast Health Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington Cancer Institute
1st Floor
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Health: Breast Center at Bel Air

12 MedStar Blvd.
Ste. 180
Bel Air, MD 21015

MedStar Health: Breast Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Smyth Building
Suite 403B
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Health: Breast Health Program at Lafayette Centre

1133 21st St., NW
Bldg. 2
Ste. 800
Washington, DC 20036

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