Bethany Carr

The Hospital of Central Connecticut: Bethany Carr, APRN-BC, MSN, CBPN-IC

Breast Cancer Risk Counseling Program

Awarded $25,000

About this Project:  

Although most breast cancers occur in women who do not have a strong family history of the disease, an estimated 5 – 10% are linked to a genetic predisposition for the disease.  Researchers have identified certain genes that, when changed or mutated, increase a woman’s breast cancer risk.  Women who have a BRCA gene mutation have up to an 80% lifetime risk of breast cancer, and a 15 to 45% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer.  The main purpose of the Hospital of Central CT’s Increased Risk Breast Cancer Program is to educate women about their risk for cancer by encouraging lifestyle modification and/or genetic testing.  This will reduce risk and possibly prevent the disease.  Our Breast Health Nurse Navigator will serve as the program facilitator and conduct a brief cancer risk assessment to evaluate risk factors, help women understand how various factors influence their risk, and provide information on appropriate steps to reduce the risk.  The nurse will help the patient complete a thorough assessment using software developed to assist in the identification of individuals at high risk of developing breast cancer and other cancers.  This system is used to collect family history and personal risk factors for developing breast cancer.  It will assist the nurse in determining the level of risk for developing breast cancer.  Based on the patient’s history and the risk level, the nurse will provide instruction on breast self-exams and education on other preventative measures and lifestyle changes.  A referring physician will receive information about the patient’s mammogram results, medical management recommendations, and any other details related to a patient’s high risk.  A Surveillance Plan will be developed based on risk, which will be shared with the patient and his/her primary care physician.