The Mayo Mammography Health Study at Mayo Clinic (MMHS) is investigating new ways to prevent and treat breast cancer.

To accomplish this, researchers in the MMHS are studying the records of more than 25,000 women who agreed to participate in the breast cancer study. The women enrolled in the Mayo Mammography Health Study after having a screening mammogram at Mayo Clinic between 2003 and 2006.

Enrolling a large group of women and following them over the years to track any development of cancer helps researchers identify factors associated with breast cancer and to learn more about prevention and the effectiveness of various breast cancer treatments.

The Mayo Mammography Health Study collected questionnaires, mammograms, blood samples and clinical results from the women who enrolled in the study. Researchers in the MMHS perform ongoing follow-up of these women to collect any new cancer information.

Putting the data to work

A unique aspect of this mammography study is that information about possible risk factors is collected before women develop breast cancer. This allows researchers to find markers on the mammogram or in the blood that will be important to women years before they might develop cancer.

Doctors and researchers may use information from the health study to:

  • Identify the risk level of patients years before they might develop cancer, which could allow women to make changes to reduce their risk.
  • Help make decisions about the frequency and type of future breast cancer screening strategies.