There have been a lot of questions regarding the Tyrer-Cuzick score lately. This is a scoring system that has been used for over a decade to calculate a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. It gives two separate risks – one for the risk of developing breast cancer over the next 10 years, and the risk over lifetime (until age 80). It is often used in patients who are thought to be at high risk of developing breast cancer for family history and other personal traits.

This risk score is calculated based on several characteristics. First, a female’s menstruation history — for example, when she began to have menstrual cycles, when her first child was born (if she has children), when the patient develops menopause and if hormone replacement therapy has been used. Second, it uses the patient’s unique characteristics such as height, weight, history of breast biopsy in past and density of breast tissue on mammogram.  The score also takes into account the patient’s family history of breast and ovarian cancer for 2 generations and presence or absence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

With these characteristics, a percentage is calculated to identify the patient’s risk of breast cancer in 10 years and in their lifetime. If this risk is greater than 20%, a patient qualifies for increased screenings, including breast MRI, additional provider based exams and other strategies based on risk.

This scoring system has been used by physicians seeing high risk patients for over a decade. If you feel that you may be at high risk for breast cancer and would like to have a Tyrer- Cusick score calculated and explained to you (or just would like to know what your risk is), please feel free to make an appt with your local oncology clinic.

Carletta Collins, MD