Risk-Based Screening

The most effective cancer control strategy for breast cancer is screening with mammography for early detection of the disease. Screening for breast cancer with mammography in randomized controlled trials has been shown to reduce the mortality from breast cancer in screened women. Although debate continues over the beginning age and the frequency of screening, there is a widespread consensus that routine mammography is a basic, essential element of health care for adult women.

Current guidelines for screening mammography in the general population are essentially based on age. We are studying the benefits and harms of screening based on additional patient characteristics, including the patient’s estimated risk of developing breast cancer. Our ultimate goal is to identify the most effective risk-based screening strategies that also minimizes the harms of screening.

With the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, we are pursuing the following research aims:

  • To develop better risk prediction models
  • To evaluate the performance of breast cancer screening according to patient risk of developing breast cancer
  • To understand whether women with high risk of developing breast cancer are receiving adequate breast cancer screen

We have produced two risk prediction models that are publicly available: (1) 5-year risk of invasive breast cancer; and (2) 6-year risk of advanced breast cancer.