Volunteers needed for breast cancer screening trial

Around 12,000 women could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer after missing out on screening due to the pandemic

Around 12,000 women could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer after missing out on screening due to the pandemic - Credit: Getty Images

10,000 volunteers are needed to take part in a breast cancer screening trial service that is being led by Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

The hospital is leading the UK arm of the large international study, which aims to test out a more personalised way to screen for breast cancer and detect it sooner.

The study involves six European countries and is looking to recruit 85,000 volunteers aged between 50 and 70 who have never had breast cancer before - 10,000 volunteers are needed from the UK.

So far, three NHS sites are involved in the trial: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

Fiona Gilbert, professor of radiology at University of Cambridge, honorary consultant at CUH and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre Imaging theme lead, is leading the UK study.

She hopes the ‘MyPeBS’ trial, short for my personal breast screening, will see monitoring improved for all. She said:

“This is an opportunity to take part in one of the largest studies so far into how we find early stage breast cancer.

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"By taking a saliva sample and history from those selected on the trial, we can identify whether they are at higher or lower risk of developing breast cancer.

"Once we know this, we can tailor screening to their own personal needs."

Each saliva sample from the trial is sent off for genetic testing in Paris, to check for signs of cancer risk in the DNA.

With almost 355,000 new cases diagnosed and 92,000 deaths each year in Europe1, breast cancer is the most common and deadliest cancer in women, but it is most often curable if diagnosed early enough.

At the moment, all those aged 50 to 70 years are invited to participate in the NHS breast cancer screening programme by having a mammogram every three years.

The MyPeBS study randomly assigns trial volunteers to follow either the standard NHS screening schedule or a personalised screening schedule according to their risk of breast cancer.

So far around 20,000 have joined the trial which started in summer and lasts for four years for all recruits.

Around 1,000 recruits have joined the UK trial so far.

The Cambridge site will be supported by the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.

Anyone interested in signing up can find information on the MyPeBs website www.mypebs.eu

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