Intermountain Medical Center launches new study to detect breast cancer

Doctors want to answer: Can a blood test detect breast cancer earlier?

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) -- Intermountain Medical Center announces a new cutting edge 3-year study to determine if a blood test could detect DNA from cancer tumors.

The idea, is to one day be able to take a yearly blood test at the doctor's office to determine if you have breast cancer.

Dr. Brett Parkinson, Intermountain Medical Center Breast Care Center, "this is an opportunity for you, as women, to make a difference."

Cancer researchers from Intermountain Medical Center and the Intermountain Precision Genomics Program are investigating if a blood based screening can detect breast cancer.

Doctors will take patients' blood samples before and after their mammograms.
The blood samples will be compared with their mammogram. This study hopes to identify cancer cells already present in a patient.

"It is our belief cancers spill their DNA into the peripheral blood and it is our belief we can detect cancer coming from a tumor earlier," said Dr. Lincoln Nadauld, Executive Director of Intermountain Precision Genomics Program. 

"If we demonstrate that you have a negative blood test and you don't have cancer that is significant if you do have a positive test it does not obviate the need for imaging. Mammography is not going away," said Dr. Brett Parkinson. 

Intermountain Medical Center screens tens of thousands of patients each year, has an electronic data base and its genomics program that make this study possible.

"We are fortunate to have those resources under one roof.  We feel obligated to conduct this study and try to detect breast cancer earlier," said Dr. Nadauld.

"My mother died of breast cancer in the mid 70s. She made me promise on her deathbed to get mammograms," said Linda Warner, breast cancer survivor. 

Warner, 64, kept that promise and last year she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer through a mammogram.

"I'm excited not only for myself but for my daughters who are getting mammograms in their 30s," said Warner. 

"We don't know what we are going to find, but what ever it is it will be meaningful," said Dr. Parkinson. 

Doctors and researchers can't stress enough, that right now, mammograms save lives and women need to get tested each years starting at age 40.

Doctors are looking for 200 patients for the first year and increase the number of patients from there. The study is a collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare and the Stanford School of Medicine. Learn more here:

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