University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Prevention and Risk

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Breast Cancer Prevention Program

The Breast Cancer Prevention Program is an innovative service specifically designed to evaluate and care for women who are at increased risk for developing breast cancer. Women learn about their risk and discuss prevention options in consultation with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, genetic counselors, nutritionists, and clinical trial coordinators.


Breast Cancer Prevention Clinical Services

Prevention Consultation

To prepare for your visit to the Breast Cancer Prevention Program, we will ask you to fill out several short forms that will help our providers identify your individual risk factors for breast cancer and create a personalized follow-up plan for surveillance and prevention. The physician will present the individualized risk assessment. In addition, our nurse practitioner will explain basic breast anatomy and breast cancer development. You will have a thorough breast exam and receive instruction on breast self-examination. The nurse practitioner and/or physician will perform the breast examination, including an extensive breast mapping. Basic recommendations and information will be provided on nutrition, exercise, and general lifestyle modifications. In addition, a genetic counselor will be available if you are interested in discussing family history and the possibility of genetic testing. If you require a mammogram, we will try to schedule one for the day of the appointment.

At the completion of the Prevention Consultation appointment, you will be provided with a copy of your breast map in addition to your personal risk profile. Follow-up appointments will be made with the nurse practitioner or other staff members. Participants will be kept aware of clinical trials as they become available.

Topics covered during a clinic visit include the following:

  • Risk management strategies (chemoprevention, surgical prophylaxis, lifestyle changes)
  • Cutting edge clinical trials
  • Putting breast cancer risk in context of other health risks
  • Breast Cancer biology
  • Family history of cancer
  • Nutrition

Genetic Counseling - Cancer Risk Program

Nearly everyone has at least one family member with cancer. When several family members are affected, suspicions are raised about heritability, especially when cancer occurs at a young age.

In some families, genetic testing may identify altered genes that predispose to cancer and are passed from parent to child. Genetic testing results, whether positive or negative, can have profound effects on individuals and their families. Family members with cancer may wish to learn their risk of a second cancer. Family members without cancer who inherit mutant genes may have an increased lifetime risk of developing cancer. These individuals must make critical decsions about surveillance, preventive surgery, and other treatment options.

The UCSF Cancer Risk Program (CRP) is a multidisciplinary, gentic counseling service for families with hereditary cancer. Genetic counselors assess personal and family history, provide education and counseling, and, when appropriate, offer testing for cancer predisposition genes. Based on family history, other cancer risk ractors and genetic testing results, counselors and doctors provide an individualized risk management program for each patient that includes recommendations for cancer screening, preventive measures, and follow-up.

For more information on the Cancer Risk Program, please see the Cancer Risk FAQS.


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in which people help doctors find ways to improve health and cancer care. Each trial or study tries to answer scientific questions and find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer.

Breast cancer prevention trials test new approaches, such as medicines, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements that doctors believe may lower the risk of a certain type of cancer. These trials look for the best way to prevent breast cancer in people who have never had cancer or to prevent breast cancer from coming back or a new cancer from occurring in people who have already had breast cancer.

If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials for breast cancer prevention, visit BreastCancerTrials.org (BCT.org) our NCI-sponsored clinical trials matching site. BCT.org also provides a quick view of prevention trials for breast cancer.

To find a breast cancer study here at UCSF, browse the open trials at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.