Radiation Oncology Research Team Creates Technology to Help Floridians Determine Their Personal Risks for Breast Cancer

MyRiskBreastCancerA team of UF Radiation Oncology researchers has developed a campaign featuring technology and resources to improve knowledge and increase breast cancer screening for people with higher-than-average risk status for breast cancer development.

Designed with the help of a $15,000 grant awarded by the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation (FBCF), the MyRiskBreastCancer campaign comprises a televised public service announcement broadcast locally in north central Florida, a website that highlights risk status and screening recommendations, and a mobile app that enables personalized screening recommendations. All will incorporate both English and Spanish.

The research team – Associate Professor Julie Bradley, MD; Assistant Professor Eric Brooks, MD; Assistant Professor Oluwadamilola T. Oladeru (Lola), MD, MA, MBA; Teena Burchianti, MSN, APRN, OCN; and Second Year Resident Matthew Culbert, MD – believes that 5% of households will view content, and 1% will access supplementary resources, impacting 4,000 to 20,000 Florida residents.

“This work aims to spread information about the importance of breast cancer screening and the nuances of screening recommendations for individuals at higher risk in a user-friendly and simple, yet comprehensive, format,” explained Dr. Bradley. “In addition to the risk calculator, there are vignettes about people with various risk factors to assist in understanding why recommendations vary for certain individuals. Information on technique for breast self-exam, answers to common questions, and resources for obtaining screening is provided. It has been exciting to work with this passionate and creative team of people who care so deeply about the health of our communities!”

“We felt this was an innovative approach to increase the awareness of breast cancer risk among populations that are often overlooked, specifically men and transgender individuals,” said Dr. Lola Oladeru. “It is also important for women to be aware that 85% of breast cancer patients do not have a family history – that fact underlies the significance of knowledge about other risk factors and adherence to screening recommendations. During the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, some women skipped mammograms, which resulted in an increase in later stage cancer diagnoses for some patients. We also hope that this televised PSA and App will remind everyone to resume recommended cancer screenings.”

Users can download the MyRiskBreastCancer smartphone app from the Apple Store, Google Play, or Flutter, or access the myriskbreastcancer.com website to calculate a personalized risk of breast cancer and find out if they may qualify for earlier breast cancer screening.

The breast cancer absolute risk predictions in the tools used on the website and the app were created with the open source code available from the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool utilizing the modified GAIL model. The user-friendly app and website will allow users to input personal risk factor status and demographic information generating individualized screening recommendations. The website also incorporates all relevant disease site-specific clinical information, such as educational resources on each risk factor, with national guideline-based information.

“MyRiskBreastCancer builds on other breast cancer risk calculators and goes a step further,” Dr. Culbert points out. “These tools apply a user’s risk score to the American College of Radiology [ACR] recommendations for breast cancer screening, generating an individualized output. We have also incorporated information on screening recommendations for men and transgender individuals from the ACR and National Comprehensive Cancer Network. It includes local and national resources for breast cancer screening for those in need of financial assistance.”

The public service announcement (below), broadcast on WCJB TV20, will be presented as a two-week-long, 40-session package. Using analytics gathered through broadcast viewership, website traffic, and app-based data collection, Dr. Bradley’s team will assess whether this approach is effective in increasing screening behavior.

For more information about the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, visit floridabreastcancer.org.

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