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.
“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.Back to top
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.”