What is the Fine Needle Aspiration Program (FNA)

The Fine Needle Aspiration Program (FNA) is designed to determine which women known to be at high risk, due to personal or family history, will develop breast cancer in a five to ten years period. The prediction is based on the cytological and biomarker changes noted in breast ductal cells via a procedure known as a fine needle aspiration of the breast.

Fibrocystic breast changes do not pose a greater risk for breast cancer, unless these changes histologically show atypical epithelial cells. Women with atypical hyperplasia plus a family history of breast cancer have an 11-fold greater breast cancer risk than those with nonproliferative lesions who have no family history of breast cancer.

It is believed that in most women cancer takes many years to develop and is the combination of inherited factors (usually not mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2) and environmental influences. It is believed that changes in the breast tissue called hyperplasia (a build-up of normal looking cells in breast ducts or glands) or hyperplasia with atypia (a build-up of abnormal but non-cancerous cells in ducts or glands) can be detected in breasts of pre and peri menopausal women years before a clinical cancer develops and this may be a “marker” of short-term cancer risk.

The Fine Needle Aspiration procedure involves removing a small number of cells from the breast under local anesthesia. These aspirations are then sent to the lab to determine cytologic and biomarker changes in the randomly aspirated breast ductal cells. Results of the Fine Needle Aspiration used in conjunction with the Gail Model Risk assessment is used to more accurately determine a woman’s short-term risk for breast cancer.

Am I eligible for the Fine Needle Aspiration Program?

To be eligible for the Fine Needle Aspiration Program, you must meet the criteria listed below:

– Must have a first degree relative with breast cancer who was diagnosed at 60 years of age or less, or:

– A prior breast biopsy with a diagnosis of “atypical hyperplasia” or “ carcinoma in situ”, or:

– A previous diagnosis of node negative breast cancer, or:

– Multiple second-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger

– You must be between the ages of 30 and 55

– Your bra size cannot be larger than DD

– Your weight cannot be greater than 200 pounds

– You cannot be receiving chemotherapy or antiestrogen therapy (Tamoxifen)

– You must be willing to have your mammograms completed at the Center for Breast Care

– You must be willing to complete a personal and family history form and a risk questionnaire

If you have any questions, or would like more information regarding the Program, please contact Paula Greene, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner.