The best prevention for breast cancer begins with regular screening, early detection, and if necessary, proactive steps to ensure better outcomes. Annual mammography screening helps catch breast cancer at its earliest stages, when it is easiest to treat.
Your personal and family history can offer invaluable insight into your breast health and risk for breast cancer. When integrated with genetic testing, this information can provide a more complete picture of your breast wellness and cancer risk. A family history of breast cancer, for example, can put you at increased risk for developing cancer. By understanding your risk for this common cancer in women, you can better decide if earlier and/or more frequent screening is right for you.
That’s why NorthShore now offers all patients scheduled for an annual mammogram at select NorthShore and Swedish Hospital breast cancer screening locations the opportunity to complete a Breast Health Assessment (BHA) questionnaire. Completing the BHA before your appointment will help to determine if you might benefit from genetic testing or other personalized medicine screening to keep you healthy. The online assessment is only available via NorthShoreConnect.
Developed by NorthShore’s breast health and personalized medicine specialists, this simple, but important questionnaire, takes only five minutes to complete. Learning about breast cancer among your blood relatives like your mother or sister, for example, helps your care team better personalize your breast health experience. Your health care provider will use this information to determine if you are at inherited risk for developing breast cancer and offer you the genetic testing options that best meet your specific needs.
Genetic Testing Options for Breast Health
After completing the Breast Health Assessment and consenting to genetic testing at NorthShore, you will receive either a Hereditary Cancer or Genetic Health Screen saliva kit upon arriving at the mammography suite. Your responses to the BHA will determine your level of risk based on national guidelines and can identify which test is more appropriate for you.
- Hereditary Cancer Panel—suggested if your personal and/or family history indicates a higher than average risk of developing certain types of cancer. The test features an analysis of 36 genes associated with the most common cancers, including breast, colon, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, renal, uterine, and other cancers.
- Genetic Health Screen—suggested if your personal and/or family history indicates you may NOT have a higher than average risk for developing certain types of cancer. This test evaluates genes involved in cancer and cardiac conditions as well as how the body metabolizes medications (also known as pharmacogenomics).
Genetic Testing Costs
In many cases, insurance plans will cover medically recommended genetic testing. The Hereditary Cancer Panel test will be billed to your insurance by NorthShore’s genetic lab testing partner, Color.
The Genetic Health Screen has an out-of-pocket cost of $199 and can be submitted to most FSAs or HSAs for reimbursement.
Convenient Testing and Processing
When you check in for your mammogram, a representative will hand you your saliva kit. After your mammogram, the technician will take you to a private area where you can provide your saliva sample.
Front desk staff at your mammography screening location will package the specimen and send it to Color for processing. NorthShore will only share patient health information required to process your testing.
Genetic Test Results
Results typically take around four to six weeks. You will receive an email via NorthShoreConnect when your results are ready.
A positive result means you have a gene variant that puts you at an increased risk of developing cancer or heart disease. It does NOT mean you will definitely develop the condition.
At NorthShore, we offer genetic counseling to discuss your results and/or recommend additional screening or referral to one of our High Risk Breast Cancer specialists.
The Mammography + Genomics program uniquely integrates your genetic test results into your NorthShore electronic patient record. Your care team can quickly and easily access this information at all points in your care.
For More Information
If you have questions about the Mammography + Genomics program, please call the Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine at 847.570.GENE (4363) to learn more.