Program Offers Personalized Surveillance Plans to Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancer

By Andrea Peirce,

Friday, October 31, 2014

RISE Program Clinical Director Debra Mangino discusses next steps with a patient.

The team of experts in our RISE Program tailor each woman’s surveillance plan based on the latest findings in breast cancer risk, prevention, and treatment.

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s comprehensive approach to caring for women with breast cancer continues to evolve as researchers learn more about identifying who is at increased risk for the disease and how to help them stay cancer-free.

Breast cancer experts in our newly conceived Risk Assessment, Imaging, Surveillance, and Education (RISE) Program  — formerly the Special Surveillance Breast Program — have refined the services we offer to women at increased risk based on the latest scientific findings and updated recommendations from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Through the RISE program, we can tailor a woman's breast cancer surveillance plan based on her specific risk profile.
Dr. Melissa Pilewskie

“We now know that standardized risk assessment and surveillance for breast cancer is not one-size-fits-all,” explains breast surgical oncologist Melissa Pilewskie.  “Through RISE, we can tailor a woman’s breast cancer surveillance plan based on her specific risk profile.”

“The program expands on what we offered before to include a formal assessment of each woman’s risk for breast cancer,” she adds. The assessment includes detailed questionnaires and review of all risk factors  and may also involve input from counselors in MSK’s Clinical Genetics Service.

What Will Be Most Effective for You?

Women at increased risk who might benefit from being closely followed through our RISE program receive a personalized plan. Put together by RISE Clinical Director Debra Mangino and a team of experts, the plan educates each woman about her risk factors, prevention strategies, and recommended breast monitoring so that any cancerous changes can be identified early and handled right away.

For some women, the recommendations may include which breast imaging tests to undergo given the density of their breast tissue or their family history of disease, for example.

Participants also receive customized guidance about which cancer-preventive medicines might be most effective, lifestyle modifications and food and diet choices, and ways to get emotional support.

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Learning More and Spreading the Word

“This program gives us a fresh starting point to better educate women on breast cancer risk factors and ways that women can reduce their personal risk,” Dr. Pilewskie explains.

She adds that by providing women with the opportunity to easily participate in clinical trials and research when they come for their regular visits, MSK will contribute to the global understanding of how to most effectively screen and treat women at increased breast cancer risk.

It makes sense to have this kind of program in a single, inviting location — MSK’s Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center — within a comprehensive cancer center, she notes. “I think one of the biggest benefits for women who are at increased risk for breast cancer but don’t have the disease  is to have their screening and follow-up at a world-renowned cancer center, allowing access to the resources of a comprehensive team of specialists in everything from cancer genetics to breast imaging to surgery to medical treatments.”

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I already know that I am high risk for breast cancer. Is this a program I should enter and if so, how do I sign up. I am 65 and have Medicare insurance and a secondary policy through my retirement plan.

Cathy, to learn more about this program or to schedule an appointment, please call 646-497-9064.

after a stereotactic and later an open biopsy for excision of high risk lesions, pathology still shows lobular carcinoma in situ and atypical ductal hyperplasia. Scheduled to see a med. oncologist in two weeks. Is this something that would be considered high risk for invasive breast cancer?

S.S., unfortunately we are unable to answer specific medical questions on our blog. If you would like to make an appointment with a Memorial Sloan Kettering physician, please call our Physician Referral Service at 800-525-2225 or go to

For questions about breast cancer treatment, you also can call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 800-4CANCER (800-422-6237). To learn more about the CIS, including Live Chat help and how to send them an email message, go to

Thanks for your comment.

I will be coming to MSK soon to have my ovaries removed as I am brca1 positive, however I normally live on Maui (I will be staying with my mom in NJ ). Would enrolling in this program be beneficial to me ,even though I can only come once a year (when I come and visit my mom annually) ? thanks :)

Dear Eva, thanks so much for your question. The recommended frequency of screenings is customized to your individual risk. We suggest you speak with your MSK doctor about enrolling in the program, or you can call 646-497-9064 to discuss your options. Thanks again for reaching out!

I recently found out I'm high risk due to the presence of the BRCA 2 gene. I'm very interested in the program, however I'm in NJ, very close to the Basking Ridge location. Is participation in this program available at the Basking Ridge location?

Stephanie, unfortunately, at this time the RISE program is only offered at the main campus. However you could be seen for consultation by our breast surgeon at Basking Ridge, who also provides surveillance for women at increased risk. To make an appointment at MSK Basking Ridge, you can call 908-542-3000. Thank you for your comment.

I found out I have low grade dcus which is a risk factor fr breast cancer, is your rise program good fr ne? I prefer not to have surgery

Milly, thank you for reaching out. To learn more about the RISE program and whether it would benefit you, or to schedule an appointment, please call 646-497-9064.

I am so grateful for this program, which inadvertently caught an early lung cancer behind a breast MRI! and also for taking such good "preventative" care of me all these years. Thank you to Dr. Mango and Dr. Pilewskie in particular, who are patient, compassionate doctors!

I am a breast cancer survivor of almost 7 yrs. My mother was a breast cancer survivor as was my sister. Unfortunately both passed away from lung cancer this year. I also have a niece that was diagnosed at age 32.

My question is my 20 yr old daughter, would she be a candidate for this program? She also has had problems with cysts on her ovaries. I get conflicting advice has to when she should start with mammo/MRI. I rated neg for Braca Please advise. Thank you!

Dear Colleen, we are deeply sorry for the loss of your loved ones. To see if your daughter would be a candidate for our screening program for women at increased risk of breast cancer, please make an appointment for a consultation. Their number is 646-497-9064. To learn more about the program, please visit…. Thank you for reaching out to us.

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