Mammographic density and breast cancer
Supervisors names: Professor John Hopper, Associate Professor Laura Baglietto and Associate Professor Jennifer Stone
Mammographic density (MD) refers to the amount of dense tissue in the breast as it appears on a mammogram. Mammographic density adjusted for age and body mass index is a strong marker of developing breast cancer, however, the underlying biological mechanisms are unknown. MD has also been suggested to be a risk factor for masking of tumors. In the clinical setting, MD thus has the potential to be used as a risk prediction tool to predict breast cancer risk and risk of masking and in turn, change the current population screening to a more individualized programme. Better prediction of the differential risks might lead to further reduction in the incidence and mortality of breast cancer. The aim of my thesis is 1) to quantify the extent to which MD measures are stable over time, 2) to investigate the associations between MD and the risks of developing breast cancer, and masking of breast cancer, 3) to further investigate if the associations between MD and the risks of developing breast cancer, and masking of breast cancer, vary by tumor characteristics and 4) to investigate the association between MD and risks of recurrence of breast cancer and death due to breast cancer.
PhD title and funding body: John and Allan Gilmour Research Award and May Stewart Bursary scholarships