Risk-Based Screening: An Initiative to Dramatically Improve Our Approach to Screening and Prevention

Investigator: Laura J. Esserman, MD
Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Location(s): United States


Cancer screening impacts every person costs billions of dollars and is mired in rancorous debate. We are not making progress in reducing false positives, over diagnosis or potential overtreatment. We need to disrupt this practice with a fundamentally new approach, a risk-based screening approach, incorporating scientific evidence for the most effective screening frequency, and new biomarkers of risk and patient choice. By profiling tumors that arise, we will learn who is at risk for what type of cancer and facilitate tailoring treatment to biology. Using an adaptive learning model, we can accelerate and implement effective change and precision medicine. A learning system will allow us to continuously improve screening and integrate prevention while reducing the negative consequences and cost of screening immediately, not 30 years from now. The Athena Breast Health Network, a collaboration of specialists integrating research and clinical care, is uniquely positioned to champion this change.