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Breast cancer risk assessment in patients seen in a gynecologic oncology clinic
  1. B. E. Miller
  1. Section on Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: B. E. Miller, MD, Section on Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157 USA. Email: bemiller{at}


The objective of this study was to determine if breast cancer risk assessment following the Gail model should be incorporated into a gynecologic oncology clinic. The Gail model was used to assess the risk of breast cancer in 329 patients with preinvasive lower genital tract disease (Pre, n = 86), invasive vulvar and cervical (Cx, n = 102), uterine (Ut, n = 87), and ovarian cancer (Ov, n = 54) seen in an inner city gynecologic oncology office. T-test, chi square test, and Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients were used for statistical evaluation. A P-value of less than 0.05 was regarded significant.

An estimated 5-year risk of breast cancer of 1.67 or more was noted in 9% of the Pre patients, 5% of Cx patients, 21% of the Ut patients, and 9% of the Ov patients. The difference between Cx and Ut patients was significant. The average 5-year risk was calculated at 0.77 for Pre patients, 0.77 for Cx patients, 1.18 for Ut patients, and 1.11 for Ov patients. These differences were significant, but mirror the age distribution. The average age was 43.6 for Pre patients, 52.2 years for Cx, 61.5 years for Ut, and 58.5 years for Ov patients; these differences were significant. When calculations were corrected for the mean age (53 years), there were no significant differences between groups regarding the average risk: Pre: 1.04, Cx: 0.81, Ut: 0.96, Ov: 0.97. Only eight patients (2.4%), six of them in the Pre and Cx group, would be expected to derive significant benefit from tamoxifen therapy.

We conclude that elevated 5-year breast cancer risk to 1.67% or higher is noted in about 11% of patients seen in a gynecologic oncology office, mainly related to age and family history. Risk assessment and regular screening should be part of any follow-up exam.

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