Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Know the NF Risk
October is breast cancer awareness month. Studies have shown that breast cancer can affect 1 in 8 women. For women with an average risk of breast cancer, the recommendation is to start breast cancer screenings at age 40. For those at a higher risk, such as women with neurofibromatosis type (NF1), the current recommendation is to start screenings by age 30.
An article by Kenvin Yan, Yiming Gao, and Samantha L. Heller states that women with NF1 have up to 5x the risk for breast cancer before age 50. The increased risk of breast cancer in NF1 makes it even more important to pay attention to breast health.
Individuals with NF1 are encouraged to talk with their physicians about their own health and family history to discuss a plan for screening. Some may need screening before age 25 based on individual risk factors. There is no cookie-cutter age for any individual.
Even though there is a recommendation of screening at age 30 for women with NF1, it is important to note that some women could face resistance from their physicians if they are not familiar with NF1 and the increased risk for breast cancer. For those who find themselves in that situation, it may be helpful to share the ACMG Practice Guidelines with their physician to help highlight the importance of early screening.
In addition to speaking with your physician about breast cancer screening, checking with your insurance plan is important. Some healthcare plans have age requirements to cover the screenings. If you or a family member need help advocating for your screening, please contact Care and Outreach Coordinator, Sarah.