UCSF studying effectiveness of personalized breast cancer treatment, prevention

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A UCSF surgeon is putting out the call to women to join a study that she hopes will change the conversation around breast cancer treatment and prevention.

The WISDOM study compares the effectiveness of annual mammograms for women 40 and older to that of a personalized approach to breast screening.

That accounts for individual risk factors, like genetics and family health history.

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"What we want to do is really try and do our best to improve the way we screen and not just screen, but if we find people who are at high risk, to reach out and educate them and help them find ways to do better," said, Laura Esserman, M.D./Director, UCSF Breast Care Center.

More than 40,000 American women die of breast cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Esserman says some of those most at risk are Asian and Latina women, as well as women of color.

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Ed Casaccia's wife Maggie died three weeks ago from breast cancer. He has an unopened box of 21 tablets of her cancer drugs, which he estimates cost $24,000 without insurance. He wants to give the medication to someone who needs it, but that task has proven impossible.

ABC7 talked to one participant who joined the study after three of her close friends died of breast cancer, despite having no family history.

"I have had, you know, clear mammograms for years, but I joined the study because I want to make sure I don't have any markers that will show up that I possibly may have cancer," said San Francisco resident, Karen Francois.

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More than 35,000 women have joined the WISDOM study.

If you'd like to join, here is a link to their website.

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