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Implementation of risk assessment process for breast cancer risk in primary care

Journal of Cancer Prevention & Current Research
Sarah Tucker Marrison,1 Caitlin Allen,2 Kevin Hughes,3 Holly Raines,1 Mattie Banks,1 Travita Lee,1 Kiersten Meeder,3 Vanessa Diaz1


Background: Current cancer prevention guidelines recommend assessing breast cancer risk using validated risk calculators such as Tyrer-Cuzick and assessing genetic testing eligibility with NCCN. Women at high-risk of breast cancer may be recommended to undergo additional or earlier screening. Risk assessment is not consistently implemented in the primary care setting resulting in increased morbidity and mortality in unidentified high-risk individuals. Methods: A single-arm interventional study was conducted in an academic primary care clinic for women 25-50 years old presenting for primary care appointments. Pre-visit workflows evaluated breast cancer risk using the Cancer Risk Assessment (CRA) Tool and information was provided to the clinician with guideline-based recommendations. Postvisit questionnaires and chart review were conducted. Results: The survey response rate was 24.5% (144/587) with 80.3% of responses completed online (94/117). The average age of respondents was 35.8 years with 50.4% White and 35.9% Black. There were no differences in response rate based on race. Risk discussion was documented in the medical record in 15.4% of cases with a higher rate of documentation in high-risk patient based on risk assessment as compared with average risk respondents (34.6% vs. 9.7%, p<0.01). In the high-risk women identified 11.4% (4/35) were seen by the high- risk breast clinic, and 5.7% (2/35) were referred for genetic evaluation. None had previously obtained MRI screening or genetic testing. Conclusions: There is limited identification and evaluation of women at high risk for breast cancer. Pre-visit surveys can be used as a tool to assess breast cancer risk in the primary care setting; however additional strategies are needed to implement systematic risk assessment and facilitate appropriate treatment based on risk level.


cancer screening, cancer risk assessment, breast cancer, genetic risk, telehealth