National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
May 31, 2011 • Volume 8 / Number 11 Update

Updated Tool More Accurately Estimates Breast Cancer Risk for Asian Americans

Screenshot of Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool

NCI researchers have updated a model for estimating breast cancer risk so that it is more accurate for Asian and Pacific Islander American (APA) women. The updated Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (BCRAT) can now better estimate risk for American women who identify themselves as Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, or other Asian. The model is described in a paper published online May 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Mitchell H. Gail, of NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and his colleagues used data from the Asian American Breast Cancer Study (AABCS), combined with data from NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, to update the model. The resulting algorithm was tested using data from approximately 4,000 APA women in the Women's Health Initiative, a study of health issues among postmenopausal women.

Intended for use by health professionals, the BCRAT calculates 5-year and lifetime estimates of a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer based on her medical history, reproductive history, and family history of the disease. In the updated model, the weight of individual factors and the calculations used to assess the interactions of multiple factors have been adjusted to more accurately predict the risk of breast cancer for APA women.

NCI Recovery Act Web Site Highlights Community-Based Cancer Care and Job Creation  

The NCI Recovery Act Web site features a new article highlighting how Recovery Act funding is driving science-based cancer care and research in hospitals at the local level. Community cancer centers have an enormous impact on cancer care in the United States, so in 2007 NCI created the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP), a network of 16 community hospitals that deliver an enhanced level of care and support in local settings.

Recovery Act funding has enabled the expansion of the NCCCP network to 30 cancer centers in 22 states, creating nearly 300 new jobs in the process. This expansion is allowing NCCCP hospitals to focus additional resources on preventive care and on bringing the latest scientific advances directly to cancer patients where they live.