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Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, the American Cancer Society, and many others have affirmed that mammography is an important tool to reduce breast cancer mortality and that the benefits of mammography increase with age. Most guidelines suggest that there is value in mammography screening for women in their 40s. Support of a personal, informed choice for women in their early 40s is widely shared, not just by the Task Force and the American Cancer Society, but also by the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.

In 2020, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women and approximately 2,620 cases will be diagnosed in men. In addition, an estimated 48,530 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) will be diagnosed among women. Approximately 42,170 women and 520 men are expected to die from breast cancer in 2020.

DCIS is a precursor to invasive cancer, although not all DCIS progresses. In fact, DCIS sometimes grows so slowly that even without treatment it would not affect a woman’s health. Long-term studies have found that only 20% — 53% of women with untreated DCIS are ultimately diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. DCIS patients who are premenopausal at diagnosis or who had their DCIS detected by palpation are at greater risk of being diagnosed with a future invasive breast cancer. During 2012-2016, DCIS represented 16% of all breast cancer diagnoses.

The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool is a computer program developed by the National Cancer Institute. Health care providers can use this tool to estimate a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer based on several recognized risk factors. This tool estimates a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer over the next five years, as well as over her entire lifetime.

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