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The Mammography-Based Risk Assessment Project

PI Name: Cummings S
Title: The Mammography-Based Risk Assessment Project
Institute: University Of California San Francisco


Women rarely receive information about their risk of breast cancer and ways to reduce their risk. Currently, fewer than 5% of high-risk women are aware of their risk. About 70% of women over age 40 have mammograms. Therefore, routinely assessing risk during mammography could identify most of the millions of women at high risk of breast cancer and provide them information about how to reduce their risk.

Mammography is an ideal time to assess risk of breast cancer because breast density can be measured from mammograms and density is a very strong risk factor for breast cancer. Other risk factors for breast cancer can also be collected at the mammography visit. The combination of breast density and risk factors predicts breast cancer more accurately than do models based only on risk factors. Experience from our CPMC Breast Health Center has proven that it is feasible to collect risk factors and breast density as a routine part of screening mammograms. We need to expand this successful project to other sites to collect data from enough patients to develop a model for assessing risk that includes automated breast density and risk factors.

With support from the Lilly Foundation, we will:

  • establish a network of mammography facilities that will collect breast density and risk factors from at least 200,000 women,
  • produce a model for estimating of risk of breast cancer that includes automated breast density and risk factors for breast cancer,
  • create a risk assessment package to install in any mammography center, and
  • develop an educational program about risk and risk reduction to provide women and practitioners as part of mammography-based risk assessment.

This project builds on infrastructure of the NCI-supported Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium: participating sites already collect risk factors and ascertaining breast cancer. We will add breast densitometry. The DaCosta Fund will also contribute substantial support to the project. The project will take essential steps toward helping millions of women understand their risk of breast cancer and ways to reduce their risk.


National Cancer Institute Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health USA.gov: The US government's official web portal Maintained by the Healthcare Delivery Research Program,
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences