New algorithm quantifies cancer risk for vulnerable women

Researchers have developed a computer algorithm that can quantify the level of risk of breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The automated method can be used to estimate mammographic breast density by assessing the variation in grayscale variations in mammograms, according to lead author J. Heine, Ph.D., an associate member of the Cancer Epidemiology Program and Cancer Imaging Department at the Mayo Clinic's Moffitt Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn.

That variation measure, according to Heine, is a "viable, automated mammographic density measure that is consistent across film and digital imaging platforms" and "may be useful in the clinical setting for risk assessment." Announcement