One in nine women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. The majority of cases, however, arise in women with no prior family history of the disease, so often individual risk can be reduced through life-style changes. Now a new clinic is to be opened by BreastHealth UK in Horley, which will give women access to the information they need to make informed choices about their breast health.
BreastHealth UK, provider of specialist breast clinics, has teamed up with Mr Adam Stacey-Clear and Mr. Adrian Ball at the Spire Gatwick Park hospital. They will be offering women a unique Breast Health Risk Assessment to evaluate their individual chance of developing breast cancer, plus advice on how to reduce their risk.
BreastHealth UK was established by consultant surgeon Professor Gordon Wishart, who grew frustrated with the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach prevalent in breast care, and wanted to offer women personalised health advice and screening, appropriate to their individual circumstances
The Breast Health Risk Assessment combines genetic screening with lifestyle, medical and family history, to give a personalised risk score which can be used to inform an individually tailored programme of breast screening. The test consists of a simple mouth swab to obtain a DNA sample, plus a questionnaire based on the Tyrer-Cuzick model (an established technique used to measure the prospective risk of breast cancer in healthy women).
Anna* , 34, attended a BreastHealth UK clinic as both her mother and grandmother had suffered with breast cancer and she was increasingly concerned about her own risk of developing the disease. She undertook the Breast Health Risk Assessment to gain an insight into her own risk and her options for managing it.
“I found out that I’m moderate risk, but not high risk,” she says. “I did find that comforting. It was all explained to me, that I need to be breast aware and consider regular screening. But it’s just business as normal now really.
“It’s made me more aware, I would say, but not worried.”
BreastHealth UK offers diagnostic and breast screening services including mammography, clinical breast examination, MRI and breast ultrasound, through its nationwide network of clinics.
BreastHealth UK’s consultants are able to give advice on risk-reduction and appropriate levels of screening. Mr Stacey-Clear, consultant surgeon at the new Gatwick Park clinic, believes that women must be pro-active about their health, and advocates regular self-examination as well as reviewing lifestyle choices such as diet, alcohol intake and exercise.
“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 35,” he says. “I would encourage all women, regardless of age, to undertake regular self-examination, and to seek help if they discover anything unusual. If breast cancer does occur, catching it early is the best way to ensure a better outcome.”
For more information about the new BreastHealth UK clinic at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital or the Breast Health Risk Assessment, visit www.breasthealthuk.com
*Not her real name