Researcher studies breast cancer screening and whether more is always better

May 3, 2013

In keeping up with the innovative work of the researchers we fund early on in their careers, the Prevent Cancer Foundation is showcasing researcher Dejana Braithwaite, PhD. Dr. Braithwaite is an assistant professor of cancer epidemiology at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco. She received a fellowship from the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the American Society of Preventive Oncology in spring 2007 for a study of environmental influences of puberty (stress and belly fat) and breast cancer risk. Dr. Braithwaite continues to do research in breast cancer, and her latest study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examines breast cancer screening in older women, ages 66 – 89. This study was also covered by several popular media outlets, including Reuters, UPI and U.S. News & World Report.

Dejana Braithwaite, PhD, is a former fellow of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Dejana Braithwaite, PhD, is a former fellow of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Braithwaite and her colleagues compared yearly breast cancer screening with screening every two years to see if there were differences in the stage of diagnosis. The results showed that, for women ages 66-74, the risk of having breast cancer detected at a later stage is no greater for women screened every two years than it is for women screened annually.

The study also looked at how screening intervals affected the number of false-positive test results. For women ages 66 – 89, Dr. Braithwaite found that women screened yearly were more likely to have false-positive results than were women screened every two years.

The results of this study may not resolve the ongoing debate about breast cancer screening intervals, but these new findings provide valuable information for older women discussing the impact of screening yearly versus every two years.

Recently, we caught up with Dr. Braithwaite to ask her a few questions about the impact of the Foundation’s fellowship on her career and the importance of funding cancer prevention and early detection research. Here is what she had to say:

How did receiving an earlier Prevent Cancer Foundation/American Society of Preventive Oncology fellowship impact your career in breast cancer research?

Receiving a Prevent Cancer Foundation/American Society of Preventive Oncology fellowship enabled me to develop further expertise in cancer prevention research and epidemiology. I am incredibly grateful to the Prevent Cancer Foundation for helping to launch my career in breast cancer research.

Why is it important to fund research in prevention and early detection?

Cancer, especially breast cancer, is a common disease and one of the leading causes of death around the globe. Through prevention and early detection, our goal is to reduce the disease burden and improve life expectancy.

Learn more about the innovative research being funded by the Prevent Cancer Foundation.


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