Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am

Your Health

El Camino Hospital launches high-risk breast cancer program

El Camino Hospital Oct. 17 launched a comprehensive high-risk breast program, the only one in Northern California.

The program is a collaboration among El Camino’s women’s hospital, Genomic Medicine Institute, cancer center and imaging services. It aims to identify women at high risk for developing breast cancer at some point in their lifetime and help them manage their risk or the resulting diagnosis.

“Approximately 3-6 percent of the mammography population – who have no history of cancer – fall into the high-risk category,” said Michele Van Zuiden, executive director of the women’s hospital. “This comprehensive offering will allow us to help our patients assess and understand their lifetime risk and then make informed choices about further testing, diagnosis, risk reduction strategies and treatment options.”

The first component of the program is a risk assessment tool offered to all Breast Health Center mammogram patients and completed via tablet while they wait for their appointment. The assessment results, along with their mammogram results, are shared with the patient and the patient’s referring physician.

All identified high-risk women are contacted within a week after the test to discuss additional screening options such as genetic counseling and BRCA testing – a blood test using DNA analysis to identify mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.

The Breast Health Center also recently adopted Volpara, a breast density measurement software tool that helps radiologists assess breast density more objectively and determine who might benefit from additional screening.

Another key component of the program is the use of advanced diagnostic equipment, including breast MRIs and a new 3D breast ultrasound.

El Camino Hospital is the first hospital in Northern California to offer the advanced 3D screening option, an especially critical step for women with dense breast tissue.

Once identified, patients are advised to schedule an appointment for the recently FDA-approved somo•v Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) system, used in addition to mammography for asymptomatic women with dense breast tissue. In clinical studies, ABUS discovered 30 percent more cancers in women who have normal mammograms, normal examinations and dense breasts.

“For nearly 40 percent of women who have dense breasts, a mammography is often not enough to detect breast cancer,” said Imtiaz Qureshi, M.D., medical director and chief of radiology at El Camino Hospital. “We are excited to bring this advanced technology to our patients, giving women with dense breasts an added screening option, that done in concert with mammography and other objective measurement tools, will help us increase the likelihood of an accurate diagnosis and earlier detection.”

According to Chris Ernst, El Camino’s vice president of marketing and corporate communications, the hospital is scheduled to host a high-risk breast forum 6-8 p.m. Monday in Conference Rooms E, F and G, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting, educational evening for all women,” she said.

Among the featured speakers will be State Sen. Joe Simitian, who recently saw his breast cancer detection bill, SB 1538, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill provides for additional notification and screening service information to women with dense breast tissue.

For more information, visit www.elcaminohospital.org.

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