World, Health, Europe

Spain: Model predicts breast cancer 20 years in future

122,000-woman study found four major risk factors determine risk of developing disease

Alyssa McMurtry   | 08.04.2021
Spain: Model predicts breast cancer 20 years in future


Spanish researchers said on Thursday they have created and validated a new model that can confidently predict a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in the short and long term.

Doctors and scientists from Hospital del Mar in Barcelona conducted a retrospective cohort study of nearly 122,000 women aged 50 to 69 and published their findings in the peer-reviewed Plos One medical journal.

Past models have been able to accurately predict the risk of a woman developing breast cancer in the next two, five or 10 years, according to researchers.

They say the new model can predict chances of developing breast cancer at two-year intervals for as long as 20 years in women who are screened.

“Currently, breast cancer screening treats all women between 50 and 69 years old the same. But within this group there are women who, depending on certain characteristics, could be at a higher risk of suffering from the disease than others. You have to keep all the variables in mind,” lead author and mathematician Javier Louro said in a statement

The research found the strongest factor in determining a woman’s risk is a family history of the disease.

Other risk factors are benign breast disease, previous breast calcifications and age.

Researchers said their model could help give women more personalized screenings in the future.

“For women with more risk factors, we could offer to give them mammograms every year or even an MRI, which is more precise, instead of giving mammograms every two years,” said lead researcher Dr. Marta Roman. “At the same time, women with lower risk could go even longer between screenings.”

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