Personal Disease Risk: Breast Cancer

Patricia Reaney. Computer Program Evaluates Breast Cancer Risk. Yahoo News, March 22 2004.

Scientists have developed a computer program to evaluate a woman’s individual risk of developing breast cancer.

Charity Cancer Research UK said the IBIS risk evaluator uses information about a woman’s family history of the disease to determine whether she has a genetic propensity to develop it.

Other factors including age, height, weight, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and whether a woman has had children are included to give a projected risk.

…"This tool will initially be available only to doctors. In the longer term we do see something that would potentially be available for the population at large," [Jack] Cuzick added in an interview.

The program gives a woman’s individual chance of suffering from breast cancer as a percentage along with the average risk. Patients with a high risk are given guidance and advice about weight loss, use of HRT and screening programs to detect earlier signs of the disease.

…Cuzick said IBIS is already used in hospitals in Britain, the United States and Australia and could be made more widely available soon.

There are also plans to use the program to evaluate the risk of other illnesses such as heart disease and different types of cancer.

"We see it as the first step toward a project providing information to both men and women of their risk of major diseases and what they might do," said Cuzick.

"Rather than having health education that is blanketed to everyone, this would be personal, individualized information as to what your personal risk factors are based on your personal history." (emphasis mine)

Jonathan Tyrer, Stephen W. Duffy, Jack Cuzick. A breast cancer prediction model incorporating familial and personal risk factors. Statistics in Medicine. Volume 23, Issue 7 , Pages 1111 - 1130. (Abstract or full text in pdf)

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