Know your risk for breast cancer? 1 in 8 women in the U.S will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, experts say

There are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States

Methodist Healthcare encourages women to get their annual mammogram.

Need to get a mammogram screening?

With October recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Methodist Hospital Metropolitan encourages the community to know how important it is that you know your risk for breast cancer.

In 2021, an estimated 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. as well as 49,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer, according to nationalbreastcancer.org.

Dr. Raul Portillo, medical director of the hospital’s breast cancer program, explains in depth why women should consider having an annual mammogram.


Why is it important for women to know and understand their risk for breast cancer?

“It will determine the type of screening and the frequency of the screening that they will be required,” said Portillo. “Most women are at average risk ... and the common guidelines (call) for the mammogram at age 40, and they nearly apply. But if you know your risk, you may be under a high-risk category, and those guidelines may be different for you.”

What is a breast cancer risk assessment and how can women take one?

“The risk assessment profile depends on various factors that include age, family history, number of pregnancies, breast density and genetic profile. All those things need to be looked at, and your physician can do that for you,” Portillo said. “There’s something called the Gail Model score, and that gives you an idea of your risk. The American Cancer Society has several tools that you can access by joining on their website, or you can visit sahealth.com/mammo, and this will also give you an idea of your risk profile.”

For those who learn that they are at high risk for breast cancer, what does that mean?

“It can mean that you need to start your breast screening earlier in life, rather than at 40,” Portillo explained. “Sometimes, it means that a mammogram may not be enough. And sometimes it needs to be supplemented with a sonogram, particularly if your breasts are very dense, and in some extreme cases of women who have very high risk due to molecular mutation, sometimes an MRI is more efficient.”


The Methodist Hospital Metropolitans Breast Cancer Program is celebrating 10 years of caring for patients this month, and encourages women to schedule their mammograms at sahealth.com/mammo.

Methodist Healthcare is committed to providing the highest level of quality breast care.