The Wisdom Study Takes A New Look At Breast Cancer Screenings

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Top doctors, researchers, health care administrators and one Bay Area congresswoman are trying to make breast cancer screenings better and they want your help.

On their minds: mammograms.

Rep. Jackie Speier said, “I hate them. I put them off.”

University of California Center for Health Quality & Innovation’s executive director Karyn Digiorgio said, “I don’t love them.”

“If we can improve mammography so they’re not smushing my breast every time,” said Speier.

A informational breakfast was hosted by Dr. Laura Esserman, director of the UCSF Breast Cancer Care Center. She is heading up a new research project called The Wisdom Study.

“We know now that breast cancer isn’t one disease,” Esserman said. “We shouldn’t be screening them the same.”

The five-year study will test a new model.

Instead of “one size fits all” mammograms, a more personalized approach that may involve family histories, breast density, DNA testing, different imaging techniques or even fewer screenings.

“Women often get caught in the middle of one group of people setting them a recommendation to come in every year for screening and another group telling them to come in every other year,” said Esserman. “That’s not right, we can do better than that we can try to figure out how to personalize screening.”

Everyone present pulled out their tablets and laptops and signed up online. It took about 30 seconds.

Participants can choose annual screening, a more personalized approach, or to let the study pick for them.

Speier is motivated to advance the science, saying, “I want to know. I want to know for my daughter and my granddaughter and all the women in this country.”

So far, 5,000 women have signed up. However, they need 100,000 to make a difference.

U.C. Care, Genentech, and Salesforce are all on board.

If you’re interested in the study you can sign up here: https://wisdom.secure.force.com/portal/.

More from Elizabeth Cook
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