Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Local Clinic for Those at High Risk of Breast Cancer

By Tiffany White

Ifeoma Rosaline Okeke, MD, is helping women stay a step ahead of breast cancer. As medical director of the Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana’s High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic, Okeke is part of an innovative approach for lowering breast cancer incidences. The clinic, which opened in 2014, provides care to women whose breast cancer risk increases because they either have a family history of breast cancer or have risk factors that elevate their risk.

Women who have a family history of breast cancer, Okeke says, are encouraged to get genetic testing at the clinic as a way of gathering more information about their situation. Patients who are tested receive counseling before and after the test, followed by a review of the test results with their doctor. The doctor also discusses treatment options with the patient based on their results. Okeke says the genetic testing has been an excellent tool that enables patients to be proactive about their health sooner rather than later. “Through this program, we have identified more than 40 patients who have genetic mutations that place them at risk for developing breast cancer or other malignancies. We offer suggestions on what they can do such as having preventative mastectomy if they have significantly elevated risk, aggressive screening with mammogram and MRI at least once a year or medications to prevent breast cancer,” she says.

For those women who have benign breast conditions, the clinic reviews their past mammograms or MRI, and prior biopsies to determine the type of lesion they may have and then reviews the level of risk to the patient. Okeke says early detection and prevention are the clinic’s primary objectives. “Our hope is to find it (breast cancer) early, because if we are able to find it early, we can cure some of these patients,” she says.

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