As the UK’s only charity entirely dedicated to protecting future generations from breast cancer, we’re proud to be launching a series of clinical trials that could revolutionise the breast screening programme in the UK.
Following the successful launch of our flagship study Predicting Risk Of Cancer At Screening 1 (PROCAS-1) back in 2009, this year we launched PROCAS-2. The study is another step towards our mission of a cancer-free future through the prediction and prevention of breast cancer.
Each year, around 55,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is due to a multitude of contributing factors, and PROCAS-2 is essential in giving women information about their individual risk based on a combination of these factors.
The initial project recruited 57,900 women from across Manchester to complete questionnaires about their lifestyle and family history ahead of their routine breast screening appointment.
Upon completing the questionnaire, our scientists are then able to calculate a ‘risk score’ based on this information together with their breast density – ratio of breast tissue to fat tissue – and lifestyle habits. Depending on their risk level, women are offered risk-reducing measures, which includes more frequent mammograms, diet and lifestyle advice or, for those found to have a particularly high risk, preventative drugs or surgery.
We know that there’s no single factor that causes breast cancer; rather, it is a combination of an individual’s family history and genetics, their environment and, of course, their diet and lifestyle habits.
Our ultimate aim is to be able to predict a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer and work with them to prevent the disease from ever occurring. This study will allow us to provide real-time risk feedback to women in the NHS Breast Screening Programme, giving us an indication of how practical a personalised approach is.
PROCAS-2 will be trialled for three years across three areas in the North West – Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire. We hope that the changes will be rolled out across the country within four years after completion.
This week Gareth Evans, professor of clinical genetics at Prevent Breast Cancer, appeared on Granada Reports to raise awareness across the North West, in the hope that more women can get on board and benefit from the study.