Mammography does provide benefit, despite recent reports

Radiologist Alexis Nees and surgeon Lisa Newman consult over a mammogram

Radiologist Alexis Nees and surgeon Lisa Newman consult over a mammogram

News outlets this week reported on recently published data from a mammography screening study from Canada that was highly critical of the benefit of screening mammography.

First, it should be noted that this is not a new study. The study was conducted in the early 1980s – three decades ago – and the recent report is merely a re-review of the data.

The results of the so-called Canadian trial, first published 22 years ago, showed no benefit for screened women and as expected, the recent re-review showed the same results. The Canadian trial results are different than other randomized clinical trials, which do show benefit. When nine randomized clinical trials are combined together, including the Canadian trial, screening mammography has been shown to significantly decrease breast cancer mortality for women age 39 and older.

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Your invitation to Ann Arbor’s Breast Cancer Summit

A community event

If you are a breast cancer survivor, caregiver or member of the general public concerned about breast cancer, please join us for a Breast Cancer Summit on Saturday, April 20, at Washtenaw Community College. The summit bridges the gap between our community and academic medicine by giving the audience a chance to ask questions and interact with U-M breast cancer specialists. Many are leaders nationally in the fight against breast cancer.

Maria Lyzen, right, and Ruth Freedman lead the Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Advisory and Advocacy Committee.

Maria Lyzen, right, and Ruth Freedman lead the Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Advisory and Advocacy Committee.

The summit was organized through encouragement from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s breast cancer advocates. They feel the summit is a way to let the community know that the U-M breast cancer specialists are collaborative and multidisciplinary. Panel discussions and a mock tumor board will give the audience a first-hand look at how these leading oncologists work together on behalf of their patients. They will also give an update on the latest breast cancer research at Michigan and nationally, showing what has been learned and how vital research donations are to these research advances.

The summit will cover:

  • cancer prevention
  • screening
  • treatment
  • research, including clinical trials
  • survivorship
  • genetic risk Continue reading

U-M Cancer Center awarded CDC funding to study screening interventions for those at high risk for hereditary breast cancer

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center recently received a three-year grant from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention to identify ways to increase cancer screening among young breast cancer survivors and their relatives who may be at high risk of developing the disease.

Maria Katapodi, Ph.D., has received a grant to study interventions to encourage breast cancer screening among high-risk populations.

Maria Katapodi, Ph.D., has received a grant to study interventions to encourage breast cancer screening among high-risk populations.

Some forms of breast cancer may be hereditary, but family members of breast cancer patients often do not participate in breast cancer screening, which can enhance survival, said Maria Katapodi, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor at the U-M School of Nursing and Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar. This study aims to find effective methods of encouraging young breast cancer survivors and their high risk family members to undergo screening.

“Family history is the most effective and cheapest method of risk assessment for all chronic diseases—not just cancer,” Katapodi said. “Getting families to talk about their health histories is the first step for clinicians to get the information they need to provide the highest quality care to patients.”

Using data from the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries, Katapodi and her colleagues plan to identify 3,000 women in Michigan who were diagnosed with breast cancer when they were between the ages of 20 and 45. Diagnosis at an early age before menopause indicates a strong likelihood that the cancer is hereditary. Continue reading