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Heidi's Story

Cancer Risk Clinic Visit Eases Fears

Heidi lost her mother and an aunt to breast cancer. "That had me worried," she says. While still living at home in Amsterdam, she began having regular check-ups in the cancer hospital there.

In 2000, her husband accepted a position at the University of Chicago; and once here, she began seeing a University of Chicago Medicine physician, who recommended she be evaluated at the Cancer Risk Clinic.

At the Cancer Risk Clinic, it was determined that Heidi's risk was higher than average because of her family history. While she was cancer-free, Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, MD, FACP, recommended that she take Tamoxifen over a four- to five-year period as a preventive measure.

"The Cancer Risk Clinic has given me the reassurance I need," says the 51-year-old teacher. "I'm not worried at all now."

"Heidi is part of the new generation," says Dr. Olopade. She is among the women shown to be at high risk for breast cancer but currently showing no signs of the disease who can take medications to lower their risk. While currently this reduces the risk of getting breast cancer by about 50 percent (versus a 90 percent chance with prophylactic mastectomy), it is a path many women prefer to take. High-risk women also are taking advantage of the latest technologies offered at the University of Chicago Medicine, such as using MRI to discover breast cancer early.

February 2004