10:29 AM

What’s the Key to More Precise Breast Cancer Detection? Your Patients.


Encourage your patients to participate in a national study designed to improve breast cancer screening and end the confusion about when to get a mammogram.


Breast cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death in New Jersey. Although early detection is the key to successful treatment, 1 in 5 women ages 50 to 74 living in the state have not had a mammogram, according to the most recent data. This reluctance may come down to confusion about when, how often and in what way women should be screened for breast cancer.

Now, health care providers have the opportunity to help close this gap in care. Horizon BCBSNJ is looking for help in enrolling patients in a new study that can improve breast cancer screening protocols.

We are covering the cost for 5,000 Horizon BCBSNJ members to participate in the WISDOM (Women Informed to Screen Depending on Measures of Risk) Study. This five-year study seeks to clarify the safest, most effective screening method for women: routine yearly screening or a personalized screening schedule that takes into consideration genetic and other personal factors like age, family history, and breast density.

The goal is to help us get better at detecting breast cancer earlier, reduce unnecessary, invasive tests and lower costs. It’s symbolic of how Horizon has, for many years, invested significant money and resources to support the development of evidence-based diagnostic and treatment protocols through clinical-trials and other forms of research. This proactive approach helps us better support our network doctors in providing care based on the best and most recent medical evidence available

Participation is free and easy

Horizon BCBSNJ members who qualify for the free study can help determine the best way forward for all women.

Eligible members who choose to participate will be randomly assigned to either a personalized screening schedule group or an annual screening schedule group. If a member has a preference for one group over the other, she can also choose which to join.

Members in the personalized screening group will be asked to submit saliva samples for genetic testing. They will receive a genetic testing kit at their homes, and they can return the kit by mail.

Women in the annual screening group will get one mammogram a year, beginning at age 40. There’s no need for participants to change where they get their mammograms or go to extra clinic visits.

The results of the WIDSOM Study have the potential to give physicians a more precise way to detect breast cancer without invasive biopsies and procedures that generate false positive results.

A national study needs your help

Funded with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the WISDOM Study is being conducted by The Athena Breast Health Network (Athena) – a group of breast cancer experts, health care providers, researchers, and patient advocates at five University of California Medical Centers.

Researchers will engage up to 100,000 women across the country to participate in the study.

To learn more about the WISDOM Study and how your patients can participate, visit www.wisdomstudy.org.