Just how often should a woman get a mammogram? Even breast cancer experts give different answers to that vital question. Because their conflicting advice has created such confusion, a new national study is being undertaken to clarify guidelines. The (WISDOM) study seeks to establish which method is safer and more effective — routine yearly screening or a personalized screening schedule that takes into consideration genetic and other factors like age, family history, and breast density. It’s being conducted by the Athena Breast Health Network, a group of breast cancer experts, healthcare providers, researchers, and patient advocates at five University of California Medical Centers.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is covering the cost for 5,000 of its members to participate in the study. Members between the ages of 40 and 74 who have not had a mastectomy, breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are eligible to participate. You can learn more about the study and sign up to participate by visiting www.wisdomstudy.org.
“Breast cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death in New Jersey and early detection is the key to successful treatment, yet the most recent data shows that 1 in 5 women age 50-74 living here did not have a mammogram. Improving breast cancer screening protocols can help us close that gap in care and focus on reaching women with a higher risk profile,” said Horizon’s vice president and chief medical officer Thomas Graf.