The American Cancer Society strongly recommends that such women undergo screening mammography annually and consult with their doctors regularly about other risk factors, such as a family history of cancer. However, recent studies indicate that many of these survivors are not following such an accelerated screening and early detection regimen. Nor are they in regular communication with their primary care providers about additional options, such as genetic testing, that could further pinpoint the odds of another cancer diagnosis.
What has not been as clear is how best to help those survivors get the screening and follow-up care they need.
The answers may come from a research project being launched this spring by researchers based at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and the Winship Cancer Institute. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the project investigates several closely related questions:
• Can statewide cancer registries be an effective platform for identifying individuals at high risk for recurrent or new cancers?
• For the breast cancer survivors so identified, will providing them and their primary care physicians information about their elevated risk status increase the chances they will receive guideline-recommended screening and follow-up care?
• Can these survivors’ female first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) be successfully identified and also administered an educational intervention that will improve the likelihood they will receive appropriate screening and follow-up?
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