Individualised surveillance programs may be developed for women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Women who have a previous breast cancer may be followed up according to schedules recommended in evidence-based guidelines, depending on the type of breast cancer they have had. It is recommended that these women consult their general practitioner (GP) or specialist for monitoring. Depending on which state or territory a woman is in, she may no longer be able to have mammograms at BreastScreen. Arrangements may be made to attend a hospital breast clinic or radiological practice for follow-up mammogram and/or ultrasound.10
Women who have a strong family history of breast cancer may require other investigations and surveillance. It may be appropriate for some women with a strong family history to be referred to a family cancer clinic, where risks of developing cancer and appropriate counselling support and intervention can be determined.
Women under 50 years who are at high risk of developing breast cancer, and who have no signs or symptoms of the disease are eligible under Medicare benefits for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) surveillance.21
A person with increased risk of cancer is likely to experience a range of fears and concerns that may be heightened at times of screening. SCNs play a critical role in supporting people at this time, and in providing evidence-based information and advice to reduce anxiety and encourage adherence to recommended surveillance advice.
Access the Familial Risk Assessment FRA-BOC3 and discuss advice you would give a 42 year old woman about her recommended breast cancer surveillance if she had one first degree relative over 50 years of age with breast cancer.
Libby is a 48-year-old female who was first diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago. This case study follows Libby's journey through diagnosis of a second primary breast cancer in the contralateral breast.
Read Libby's healthy history, watch the video, and then work through the learning activities. Use your notebook at the top of the screen to answer the learning activity questions and record your thoughts.
Libby's story 1: meet Libby
After watching Libbys’ story, access the Familial Risk Assessment FRA-BOC3, and outline her estimation of risk for developing future breast or ovarian cancer.
Access Advice about familial aspects of breast cancer and epithelial ovarian cancer – a guide for health professionals(PDF, 341KB) 22, and:
- Outline evidence-based recommendations for follow up to detect recurrence or a second primary breast cancer for Libby who has received treatment for invasive breast cancer.