Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: High-Risk Breast Program at Sentara Martha Jefferson


Our focus this week is on a new high-risk breast program now in place at Sentara Martha Jefferson. When women come in for their mammogram, a risk score is developed based on a list of questions women are asked to answer.  Anyone with a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer greater than 10% is then notified.

“We are really trying to educate women and inform them if they are at high risk,” noted Janelle Gorski, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, AOCNP, a nurse practitioner with the high-risk breast program. 

The calculation doesn't have anything to do with their actual mammogram.  Notifications are sent via a letter to patient’s homes. Women who are interested in learning more are encouraged to call for information and additional assessment. 

“We will ask some more in-depth questions, especially about family history, to make sure that assessment is correct,” noted Gorski. 

Women can then be referred to a variety of services, depending on what may be most beneficial to them. 

“I’ll help people get to where they need to go,” said Gorski.  “And that may be to see a breast specialist to talk about benefits of increased screening, it may be to talk to a registered dietitian about improved lifestyle choices. We also have an exercise counselor that'll talk abut the benefit of exercising and will create a plan for when and if they're interested. We also have a certified genetic counselor that can help assess hereditary risk of breast cancer.”

In the end, the goal is to educate and empower women to better understand their health. 

“I think a lot of women have appreciated the information that they may be at high risk for breast cancer, and then the opportunity to do something about that.  Whether it’s increased screening, or changing their lifestyle, so far women have appreciated that,” said Gorski. 

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

Do you have health questions? Get the answers every Monday morning from the experts in our feature: Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

To submit your questions, email them to healthquestions@nbc29.com. Then, tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital