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Essential Elements for Starting a Successful Breast Cancer Risk Program

Chief Clinical Scientist — Brian Drohan – Updated on January 9, 2024

A breast cancer risk program, where the objective is to identify patients at high risk of developing breast cancer, has the potential to enable better outcomes for patients and substantial value to your business and is more attainable than you may think. By collecting a patient’s personal and family history as part of routine care, you’re already doing many of the necessary steps for identifying high risk patients. The key to an effective program is that it takes more than just a risk score. As you consider launching your own risk program, here’s some important advice to help you begin. 


1. Effective Patient Engagement
Provide patients with the opportunity to gather and complete medical history forms electronically before their visit. Emphasize the importance of obtaining detailed and accurate information. This will support your clinical staff in helping patients with questions on family history and risk assessment without slowing down their workflow.

2. Comprehensive Care Management Plan
Understand the care pathways you will recommend to patients through your high-risk program, and how they are supported by referring doctors. Using automated reporting software, like Volpara Patient HubTM, you can navigate the many state and national guidelines and generate a personalized care plan that aligns with the objectives of your high-risk program.

3. Efficient Clinical Workflow with Breast Density Informed Risk Assessment
Including volumetric breast density enables a more comprehensive risk assessment and has become a key piece of the risk models like Tyrer-Cuzick. Incorporating Volpara Scorecard allows for an objective and precise volumetric breast density to be included in a comprehensive risk assessment automatically.   


1. Preselecting Who Gets Assessment with a Manual Process
Don’t try and spot the high-risk patients and have them complete a paper survey that leaves you with hard to use data. Make high quality data collection is fast and easy, then do it for everybody. This is key to tracking and following up with patients to make sure they have access to the next steps recommended for them.

2. Disconnect with Providers
Educate referring physicians on your program goals so they can confidently take the next steps for the patient. If the referring physicians don’t understand the program goals and resources, they are less likely to help the patient with informed conversations and taking the next step.

3. Not Tracking High-Risk Patients
Whether you are keeping high-risk patients within your facility or referring them elsewhere for additional care, being proactive about compliance can make all the difference in ensuring that high-risk interventions fulfill the promise of early detection. 

Successful breast cancer risk programs are built every day and can be an important tool to improve care within your practice. With the availability of technologies that speed patient reporting and communication workflows, success is within your grasp. Volpara Risk PathwaysTM is a comprehensive risk software platform designed to make starting your own high-risk program simple. Contact us at to learn more about risk, patient reporting, and how to personalize patient care.