Annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40 continue to be the best tool for early detection of breast cancer in women of average risk; however, identifying women at increased risk can help patients and their physicians decide if additional imaging or other screening measures should be considered.
In October 2022, the Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center began a pilot program introducing a digital questionnaire called CancerIQ into the breast screening process.
After checking in at the Breast HealthCare Center for a screening mammogram, patients are provided a tablet or a QR code to access the questionnaire on a personal device. The simple survey asks questions about their family history, lifestyle and past screenings.
“Every person’s cancer risk is based on a combination of factors,” explains Jennifer Kauffman, MoBap’s risk program nurse coordinator. “Before CancerIQ, we collected a patient’s risk information during admission. Now with CancerIQ, we have a built-in calculator that scores the answers on the questionnaire to help us quickly assess a patient’s comprehensive cancer risk.”
After a survey is completed, CancerIQ scores the answers using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for calculating genetic risk for various cancers, including lung cancer. When calculating the risk score for breast cancer, the platform uses the NCCN guidelines combined with the Tyrer-Cuzick risk calculator to estimate the likelihood of a patient developing breast cancer in 10 years and over a lifetime.
“While the pilot program identifies patients at higher risk for breast cancer, it also helps us identify patients who may be eligible for genetic counseling based on a strong family history of other types of cancer, including lung cancer,” says Jennifer. “For patients at higher risk for lung cancer, we also see if they qualify for the lung screening program.”
Patients with increased genetic or hereditary risk factors for breast cancer are offered an appointment with MoBap’s Breast Cancer Risk Program and Genetic Counseling Program for further assessment, Jennifer says. Through this program, patients get comprehensive breast cancer screenings, customized surveillance plans and personalized care coordination.
A grateful patient is thankful for CancerIQ, which revealed she is at increased risk. “The questionnaire was easy to complete,” she says. As a participant in MoBap’s Breast Cancer Risk Program and Genetic Counseling Program, she qualified for additional screening and had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of her breasts. “When the test result showed a small mass, doctors performed a biopsy that was negative for cancer.” She says the closer monitoring gives her peace of mind.
Jennifer says she’s heard that same sentiment from many patients. “By identifying patients at increased risk, we can intervene earlier to help preempt a cancer diagnosis. And, if cancer is detected, an early diagnosis allows for more effective treatment when the cancer is at a more curable stage.”
If you are 40 and older and have not had a recent mammogram, reserve an appointment time through online self-scheduling or call 314-996-5170 to schedule your mammogram today.
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