Breast Cancer Risk

All women are at risk for breast cancer and should have a risk assessment by age 30. Learning more about breast cancer risk can be the first step in catching it at its earliest, most treatable stage. Our Early Intervention Breast Clinic was created to provide our patients with the opportunity to proactively participate in their breast health and cancer risk reduction.


About Our Early Intervention Breast Clinic

Located in the Mission Breast Center, our Early Intervention Breast Clinic offers patients direct access to ARA Health’s breast experts. The goal of a risk assessment appointment is to determine the patient’s unique lifetime risk for developing breast cancer and create a personalized screening care plan to promote optimum breast health. We recommend all women to complete a risk assessment by age 30.


  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Many women believe breast cancer is hereditary, but that’s true only 10% of the time.
  • Breast cancer risk factors should be monitored with the same heightened attention given to blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body mass index (BMI).
  • Medical history from both sides of a women’s lineage is crucial to understanding individual risk.


Breast Cancer Risk Assessment with Screening Plan
This visit is for patients who are unsure of their risk for developing breast cancer. You will have a thorough discussion with our breast imaging clinical specialist to discuss individual risk factors. The appointment may include:

  • A review of personal and family health history
  • A review of prior breast imaging studies, including mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI
  • Education about breast density
  • Discussion of eligibility for genetic testing
  • Creation of a personalized breast cancer screening plan that can be re-evaluated and adjusted as needed, based on breast health changes and other individualized factors
  • Any necessary referrals

Dense Breast Tissue Consultation
Approximately 40% of women over age 40 have dense breast tissue. Dense tissue makes breast cancer more difficult to detect on a mammogram and is also a risk factor for developing breast cancer. Women who have been identified as category C or D density level on a mammogram may sit down with our clinical specialist to discuss in detail what this means and how best to address it with a supplemental screening plan.

Review of Breast Biopsy Results
This visit is for patients who need help understanding their breast imaging and biopsy results. You will have an in-depth discussion with our breast imaging clinical specialist, including:

  • A review of breast biopsy results and recent imaging workup
  • Preparation for a breast surgery referral if indicated
  • Review of next steps

You have questions. We have answers.

Below you'll find answers to some of the questions we are commonly asked by patients. Please contact our ARA Cares Coordinator at (828) 436-5500 with any additional questions or concerns.

How do I prepare for a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment?
No preparations are needed. If prior mammograms were taken outside of ARA Health and Mission Hospital, please bring a copy of your latest scans.
What if I am determined to be at high risk for breast cancer?
If the assessment places you in the high-risk category, rest assured that our breast specialists will provide the resources necessary to help you navigate your options. Your screening plan will likely include additional scans to supplement your screening mammogram, like screening breast ultrasound (SBU) or breast MRI.