A first in this region - a program dedicated to improving quality of life by helping women know, understand & effectively manage their risk

If you have a family history of breast cancer or you’ve had an abnormal biopsy, you may be concerned about developing cancer.  However, your risk may actually be lower than you think. In fact, the vast majority of women who fall into those categories are able to achieve greater clarity and peace of mind by seeking risk and genetic testing.

If testing should determine that you’re at high risk, our program’s compassionate, skilled specialists will help you:

  • Better understand your risk
  • Make informed choices
  • Take proactive preventive steps

Who should seek high risk assessment?

  • Any woman concernedabout her risk
  • Women with two first-degree relatives with breast cancer (First-degree includes a mother, sister or daughter, as well as a father, brother or son with male breast cancer)
  • Those who’ve had an abnormal biopsy
  • Women with a family history of ovarian or male breast cancer
  • Women personally diagnosed with breast cancer under 45
  • Women who have suffered two separate breast cancers
  • Women with the BRCA gene
  • Women with a blood relative with the BRCA gene
  • Women of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage


Initial Physician & Counselor Consultation

  • Every patient who chooses Mountainside will meet with our Nurse Navigator for individual risk assessment and be offered a mammogram if needed.
  • Each patient whose risk is deemed elevated will meet with a board-certified breast surgeon for a breast examination, and a discussion of risk and specialized screening program options. If indicated, patients will be referred to meet with a medical oncologist to explore risk reduction medication.
  • A certified genetic counselor will be available to each patient for one-on-one discussions by appointment.

Simple, Painless Genetic Testing

An oral rinse or blood test is all that’s needed to conduct BRCA genetic testing. This test is important because:

  • BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are known as tumor suppressors and mutation of those genes has been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • A woman's risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is increased if she inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. (Men with these mutations also have an increased breast cancer risk.)

State-of-the-Art Digital Mammography

If you haven’t recently had a baseline or annual mammogram (based upon your age), one will be performed by skilled technicians and analyzed by a physician who specializes in breast imaging at our Breast Center of Excellence, a designation we’ve been awarded by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for exceeding all of its patient care standards.

A Preventive Action Plan

  • Dr. Michelle O'Shea reviews results of the diagnostic imaging and, in consultation with a Genetic Counselor, reviews the results of the genetic testing.  If further treatment is necessary, she will consult with additional Mountainside Medical Center physician specialists.
  • If a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is detected, there are several options available to help manage cancer risk and they will be clearly explained in one-on-one discussions. A personalized preventive and early intervention plan will be developed in consultation with our multidisciplinary team of experts.

World-Class Care in a Community Setting

About 5-10% of all breast cancer cases are related to BRCA mutations. In the event of such a diagnosis, Mountainside Medical Center provides an exceptional, unsurpassed standard of care.    

  • A nurse specially trained as a Patient Navigator is dedicated exclusively to supporting our breast cancer patients and ensuring that all medical, practical and emotional needs are met.
  • Our medical team includes some of the region’s leading board-certified specialists in breast and gynecological oncology and other relevant specialties.
  • The Cancer Center at Mountainside Medical Center is accredited with commendation by the American College of Surgeons and includes one of the region’s few ACR accredited Radiology Oncology program.


If you may be at heightened risk of developing breast cancer due to family history or atypical test results, be proactive about your health. Call 973- 429-6120 to schedule an appointment with the Risk Reduction Program team.


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