Cancer Risk Assessment Offered at Mercy in Baltimore

The Center for Women's Imaging at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Mercy is proud to provide women with a leading edge cancer risk assessment (CRA) service. The cancer risk assessment is an innovative tool which helps identify patients with an increased lifetime risk for the development of breast cancer. Additionally, the cancer risk assessment can determine increased risk of genetic mutations related to hereditary types of breast, ovarian, colon and endometrial cancers. 

How is the Cancer Risk Assessment performed?

The cancer risk assessment is offered at no additional cost to all breast imaging patients at both The Tyanna O’Brien Center for Women’s Imaging at Mercy and at Mercy Personal Physicians at Lutherville. Most patients take the cancer risk assessment during their routine screening exam or a diagnostic mammogram appointment. 

Upon arrival at our offices, each patient is provided with an iPad to take the Cancer Risk Assessment (CRA). Patients input health and family medical history data, similar to what is typically provided when a patient visits a new medical practice. This information focuses on risk factors related to cancer, with emphasis on breast cancer

Once the assessment is complete, the CRA program is able to quickly perform an analysis based on multiple computer models which have been clinically proven to determine breast and ovarian cancer risk as well as colon/endometrial cancer risk.  

The survey results are then reviewed by our doctors and reported to both the patient and the referring provider. Patients with higher risk may benefit from a more personalized screening plan which might include more frequent breast clinical exams, mammography screening at earlier age, possible supplemental screening with breast MRI or whole breast ultrasound, genetic counseling/testing or medical/surgical interventions. 

Our staff is available to assist you as needed in completing the survey.

NEXT: What are the risk factors associated with breast cancer? ›
What are the risk factors associated with breast cancer?

The key factors for increased risk of breast cancer are:

  • Personal or family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, especially in a first-degree relative such as mother, sister or daughter (especially if they were diagnosed BEFORE menopause)
  • History of abnormal breast pathology on prior biopsy (especially a diagnosis of atypia or LCIS)
  • Personal history of high-dose chest radiation therapy as a child or young adult (such as treatment for lymphoma)
  • Family member with a known genetic mutation


Additional breast cancer risk factors include:

  • Early age at first period and/or late menopause
  • Late age at first childbirth and /or no children
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of benign breast biopsy
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Excessive amount of fat in the diet
  • Family history of certain other types of cancer
  • Dense breast tissue (this is determined from a mammogram)

NEXT: Is the Cancer Risk Assessment confidential? ›
Is the Cancer Risk Assessment confidential?

Yes, the assessment is absolutely confidential and is subject to the same level of privacy as any other part of your medical record at Mercy.

NEXT: Why should I complete the Cancer Risk Assessment? ›
Why should I complete the Cancer Risk Assessment?

Most patients provide detailed medical and family history to their doctors as a routine part of their appointment. The CRA software allows us to analyze your information and inform you of your breast cancer risk so that a personalized approach for screening can be developed for you. 

If you are identified as being at a high risk for breast cancer, our doctors may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Additional screenings that may help detect breast cancer
  • Genetic counseling services
  • Other medical/surgical consultations


NEXT: How will I receive my results? ›
How will I receive my results?

If you are having a diagnostic breast imaging exam (either diagnostic mammography or breast ultrasound), you will receive your CRA results directly from the radiologist during your consultation at the time of your imaging appointment. If the results indicate you have any increased risk level, you will be given appropriate recommendations and referrals to develop a formal risk evaluation and screening plan. If there is no elevated risk identified, the radiologist will still provide recommendations for continued routine screening for breast cancer.

If you are having a screening mammogram, you will receive both your imaging results and your CRA results by mail and a full report will also be sent to your referring clinician. You will be informed if there is any possible increased risk and given appropriate contacts to arrange consultations with high-risk specialists or genetic counselors if indicated.

NEXT: How often should I complete the Cancer Risk Assessment? ›
How often should I complete the Cancer Risk Assessment?

Your medical and family history may change from year to year and therefore it is suggested that you update this information at least once a year at the time of your mammogram. The program will save your previous information as part of your medical record so that when you return it will be easier to simply provide any updates or changes so that your risk can be recalculated.

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