High-Risk Breast Cancer Program

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Our High-Risk Breast Cancer Program gives you focused, thorough care. We'll tailor genetic testing, cancer screening, and risk-reduction options for you.

Get your questions answered. Find strategies to manage your risk. Get the valuable insight and support you need to make informed decisions about your future.

High-Risk Breast Cancer Treatment at UVA Health

If your family or personal history shows a significant level of risk, our team will work with you to design a treatment plan that's right for you. We can offer several strategies to help keep you healthy while aggressively monitoring for the development of any cancer.

These include:

  • Personal risk assessment and close observation with cancer screening
  • Chemoprevention, which offers FDA-approved medications, including tamoxifen and raloxifene, to help prevent breast cancer from developing
  • Surgical risk-reduction options for those women who carry genetic mutations and have the most increased risk of developing breast cancer. Learn more from an expert on the pros and cons of preventive mastectomy.

We can also connect you to the High-Risk Breast & Ovarian Cancer program.

Genetic Counseling

Less than 10% of all breast and ovarian cancers have genetic causes. But genetic risk is complex. That's why our genetic counselors play an integral part of the high-risk program’s interdisciplinary team. They help determine if you need genetic testing and whether your insurance will pay for it. 

Learn more about genetic counseling for breast cancer.

Prevention Options

To reduce your risk of breast cancer, practice healthy habits. Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise and try to keep yourself relaxed and stress-free. 


Chemoprevention uses natural or synthetic substances to reduce your risk of getting cancer or of having cancer again, by:

  • Preventing the mutations that can cause cancer
  • Stopping the process that makes mutated, damaged cells grow out of control

While chemotherapy kill cells that have already mutated and become cancerous, chemoprevention aims to stop cells from becoming cancerous.

Preventive Medications

We use the only two chemopreventive drugs approved by U.S Food and Drug Administration for reducing the risk of breast cancer: tamoxifen and raloxifene.

Surgical Risk Reduction

If you have a very high risk of breast cancer, your best option could be surgery. This is true especially if you carry a genetic mutation. Having your breasts completely removed (mastectomy) before any cancer develops can eliminate almost any risk of breast cancer.   

If You Get Breast Cancer

If you get diagnosed with breast cancer, UVA provides advanced breast cancer treatment