Underutilized Mammogram Data Could Help Identity Cancer Risk Linked to Breast Density

A screen depicting a breast imaging scan in the foreground while a patient and a nurse interact in the background.

A study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that previous mammograms hold underutilized data that could help identify women at high risk of breast cancer.

The research team — including Debbie L. Bennett, MD, associate professor of radiology and chief of breast imaging at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR) — used a mathematical model to monitor changes in breast density over the course of a decade in almost 1,000 women. They found that the rate of change differed significantly between the nearly 300 women who were later diagnosed with cancer and those who were not. The findings could help refine current risk algorithms and aid efforts to identify women who would benefit from additional screening. The study is now available in JAMA Oncology.

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