Brem Foundation announces new breast cancer screening tool
October has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in the wake of a recent study showing an increase in the incidence of cancer at younger ages, the Brem Foundation has announced a new online resource to help women assess their cancer risk.
The study, published in August, found from 2010 to 2019 the incidence of early onset cancer increased in women mainly because of cancers of the uterus and breast. The Brem Foundation has released a new online tool called CheckMate, a quiz to help women assess their breast cancer risk and determine if they should seek additional screening.
Dr. Rachel Brem, co-founder and chief medical officer at the foundation, said many women may underestimate their risk for breast cancer.
"We know that the average age of breast cancer is significantly decreasing," Brem pointed out. "So that we really have to get this interactive, easy, quick tool into the hands of everybody, including younger women, because the incidence of breast cancer is happening in younger and younger women."
In the past, the only tool for finding breast cancer early was X-ray mammograms. Brem noted in recent years, many advances in screening technology have taken place and now early detection is far better.
"We have many things in our tool chest that can find early curable breast cancer, like screening breast ultrasound, or MRI," Brem outlined. "The reason that's so important is because 95% of women with early breast cancer survive and thrive five years and more."
She added finding breast cancer early not only improves survival rates, but also allows for less difficult treatments.
While mammograms are a reliable screening tool for many women, some women in higher risk categories including those with dense breast tissue often need more advanced screening methods. Brem emphasized CheckMate was developed by a panel of national experts to help address different risk factors among varying racial and ethnic groups.
"Higher risk groups like black American women, like Ashkenazi Jewish women, where breast cancer does occur younger and more aggressively, CheckMate can be a lifesaving tool to find out if they have an increased risk of breast cancer and whether they need more screening to find early curable breast cancer," Brem stressed.