Researchers preparing to conduct an extensive breast cancer research trial in Oklahoma City hope to find cancers that mammograms can’t detect.
The Oklahoman reports the Mercy Breast Center is scheduled to begin the trial on July 1. It’ll bring in 4,000 women over three years who’ve had a mammogram that was interpreted as normal.
“We miss the majority of women who are heading straight towards having breast cancer,” said Alan Hollingsworth, medical director of the center. “It is going to be a huge undertaking.”
Researchers have created a new breast cancer risk-prediction model based on computer-aided image analysis that shows minor changes in breast tissue. The model was developed after 2,000 images were reviewed.
The model intends to identify women who are excluded from current breast MRI guidelines, but have a higher risk of developing hidden cancers that can be detected by an MRI.
Researchers also will evaluate women with elevated cancer risks that aren’t detected easily by a regular mammogram.
Lethal breast cancer is more common in younger women, mostly under age 50, because dense breast tissue makes detecting cancer more difficult, according to Bin Zheng, one of the researchers on the project. He said the research will benefit many younger women.
Selected participants will have a mammogram that’ll be sent to researchers at the University of Oklahoma Advanced Cancer Imaging Laboratory for analysis.
“The whole purpose is to make mammograms more efficient,” Hollingsworth said.
Mammograms will be given a risk score. If the score is high, the candidate will be selected for future tests, including an MRI.
“MRIs have been kept to high-risk people, but we want to create this system and bring it to the general population,” Hollingsworth said.