PLANO, TEXAS—Michelle Vanderburg doesn't have a crystal ball but she knows she has to play close attention to her breast health.
"My mother is a breast cancer survivor so it is very important to me to be on top of my health," Michelle said. "To make sure that I'm vigilant about getting screenings."
So a few weeks ago Michelle took the online cancer risk reduction test at Texas Health Plano.
She answered about 20 questions about family health and other risk factors--then received a follow-up call and letter advising her of an elevated risk
She's scheduled an appointment where she'll get an actual risk number.
"Its peace of mind," Michelle said. "I mean just to know that I'm going to have an exact number of numerical value on what my lifetime risk of having breast cancer and that I can take proactive steps that's individualized and customized for me."
Two years ago the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended that screenings for women between the ages of 40 and 49 be based on individual factors--while women 50 to 74 should be screened every two years.
Sharon Hillgartner--a women's health practitioner at Texas Health Plano--said the study--which recommends individual guidelines--is better than a one size fits all approach.
"Because we know if you could just throw a number out there and say, you don't need to worry about this until you're 40 or 50," Hillgartner said. "We could move forward and do all sorts of things."
Or if there if an extra risk--like in Michelle's case--dietary changes or alternate imaging between an MRI and mammogram every six months could be recommended.
With individual mammogram guidelines--Michelle's mom's history impacted hers--the same way Michelle's will someday impact her daughters.
"The fact that I can take active steps depending on what my individual risk is," Michelle said. "It's like peace of mind."