Genetics, family history and other factors may increase the risk of a person developing breast cancer. So, how do you know if you fall into that category?

Dr. Tyshaun James-Hart, dedicated Breast Surgeon with Women's Multi-Specialty Group on the Women's & Children's Hospital campus at 4600 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, helps women and men in Acadiana answer that question and others in a bi-weekly Genetics/High Risk Clinic she conducts in her office.

The clinic is held on Thursdays. Appointments are required. The visit is covered by most insurance. Call 989-7350 for more information.

The visit begins with an examination followed by a one-on-one conversation with Dr. James-Hart, who focuses in on personal and family history - how many sisters, brothers or other family members have had some form of cancer, have you had a history or a biopsy performed, etc.

"Ages at which family members were diagnosed will lead you in one direction or another to determine if the person needs genetic testing or is at a higher risk for breast cancer," she said. "However, not everyone is a candidate for genetic testing. Not everyone will be considered to have a higher risk of breast cancer."

Should you be considered at higher risk but do not have breast cancer, the next step is a modification of surveillance, Dr. James-Hart explained. That is, the frequency of your mammograms and/or MRIs will need to increase in order to stay on the proactive side of breast cancer.

"A woman may realize her mother, her aunt and her grandmother had breast cancer," she said.

"It may be only a matter of time before she, too, is diagnosed. With genetic testing and high risk assessment, we may be able to detect it when it is little more than a calcium deposit or prevent it all together. It's a matter of being proactive."