The main research effort of Amy C. Degnim, M.D., focuses on improving the ability to predict breast cancer risk for individual women by studying breast tissue for very early signs of premalignant change. Dr. Degnim leads a team that pursues multiple research projects based on the Mayo Clinic Benign Breast Cohort, involving approximately 15,000 women. The goal of these multidisciplinary studies is to improve the accuracy of breast cancer risk prediction, which in turn will facilitate improved breast cancer prevention. Aspects of this large research effort include the study of histology, genomics, immunology and breast-imaging changes that are associated with risk of developing breast cancer.
Dr. Degnim also leads research efforts related to improving the quality of breast surgery by reducing complications of surgery. She has pioneered clinical research on breast lymphedema as well as trials on the use of drain antisepsis techniques to reduce surgical site infection, with a national trial underway.
- Developing methods to accurately predict an individual woman's risk of breast cancer
- Understanding early changes in breast tissue along the path of breast cancer development
- Investigating roles of immune cells in breast cancer development
- Identifying cellular processes to target for new breast cancer prevention treatments
- Reducing complications after breast surgery, especially surgical site infections
Significance to patient care
Improving the accuracy of individualized breast cancer risk prediction will help women with clinical decision-making regarding prevention treatments, leading to reductions in breast cancer. Our research will also help to identify early steps in breast cancer development and new options for prevention.