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Sylvester Launches New Program To Prevent Breast Cancer In Those At High Risk

Transforming Patient Care: High Risk Breast Cancer Program
Alejandra T. Perez, M.D.

In 2021, Sylvester at Plantation became the site for a new program that offers those at high risk for breast cancer access to a multidisciplinary care team focused on preventing cancer from ever occurring.

The Cancer Assessment Risk Evaluation (CARE) Clinic is a collaboration among radiology, genetics, surgical oncology, gynecologic oncology, medical oncology and supportive care services. People in the community can take an online breast cancer risk assessment to see if they may be eligible for the CARE Clinic. Those who might have a higher than 20% lifetime breast cancer risk based on the assessment are triaged and possibly referred to the appropriate specialist for preventive care.

“These are patients that feel abandoned by the health care system,” said Alejandra T. Perez, M.D., director of Sylvester’s Breast Cancer Program in Plantation. “They feel they do not belong in a cancer center because they don’t have cancer but, on the other hand, they need the care.”

In cancer, the ideal is to prevent it; not to treat it, according to Dr. Perez. “That is why a formal prevention program for people at high risk for breast cancer is so important. This program is designed to set up the framework. We hope to apply the concept of cancer prevention in high risk individuals to other cancer types in a Sylvester cancer prevention institute,” Dr. Perez said.

The very small cancer (circled, at right) could only be seen on a high risk screening MRI
The image on the left shows red patches and the image on the right shows very small cancer cells detected in the left breast.