The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) recently announced the Daffodil Centre’s Professor Nehmat Houssami as the first 10-year Chair in Breast Cancer Prevention. This significant $5million grant will enable Professor Houssami to implement a long-term research program designed to address several areas in screening and prevention to reduce the growing incidence of breast cancer and, ultimately, reduce deaths and contribute to NBCFs mission of ending deaths from breast cancer.
Professor Houssami’s cutting-edge research will take a broad approach to breast cancer prevention, including improving breast screening technologies to detect breast cancers earlier as well as improving surveillance, staging and prognostication in patients already diagnosed with breast cancer.
Professor Houssami’s initial focus will be planning to implement a large-scale breast screening trial using tomosynthesis (or 3D mammography) in comparison with standard screening. The proposed research collaboration with BreastScreen Australia will use an emerging technology in early detection, building on Professor Houssami’s work already completed in a pilot trial which indicates tomosynthesis increases detection of breast cancer. As early detection offers the best possible chances of survival to those breast cancer affects, this is a promising area for development.
Another key area of Professor Houssami’s research will be monitoring women previously diagnosed with breast cancer for earlier detection of second breast cancer through new and improved screening technology.
The sustained 10-year funding model means Professor Houssami will be able to apply findings from the initial stages of research to inform the approach to subsequent projects, particularly in the challenging area of primary prevention.
Primary prevention is currently focused on women identified as high risk due to genetic mutations, but Professor Houssami plans to explore prevention at a broader population level, which while challenging, could bring significant benefit by reducing the risk of developing breast cancer.