Health Benefits

Innovation Improves Health: A Promising Breast Cancer Study Open to California Women

Doctor consults with woman.

CalPERS Basic PPO subscribers: Learn how you can participate in the WISDOM study.

The WISDOM study is designed to test what we expect to be a transformative approach to breast cancer screening. The objective is to optimize breast cancer detection for women while reducing the unintended consequences of current cancer-screening practices for lower-risk patients.

We anticipate the personalized care approach will lead to better health outcomes, and help improve access and use of preventive therapy for women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

The study became available to CalPERS Basic PPO subscribers beginning November 2018.

Goals

WISDOM, which stands for Women Informed to Screen Depending on Measures of Risk, will help determine if personalized breast cancer screening provides better health care value than annual screening by:

  • Screening women at intervals based on their individual cancer risk;
  • Improving compliance to recommended screening;
  • Making better use of available resources to ensure women who are at the highest risk get the care they need, and women at lower risk do not receive unnecessary care; and
  • Decreasing patient anxiety.

How Women Can Get Involved

The study is led by clinicians and researchers across the University of California campuses, but women who are PPO members, age 40-74 with no history of breast cancer, who lives in California, can join regardless of where she receives her care. You do not need to change providers or come in to a study center; participation is online and is completely voluntary. You can sign up at wisdomstudy.org. The study team can also be reached at info@wisdomstudy.org, or by calling (855) 729-2844.

As a participant, you’ll complete an online registration form, consent form, and questionnaires. You will be placed in one of two study groups: Annual Screening or Personalized Screening.

  • Annual Screening participants are recommended to return every year for a mammogram. Women at the highest risk may consult via telephone with a trained breast health specialist.
  • Personalized Screening participants will complete an at-home genetic test. Test results will factor into their personalized screening assignment. Their individual risk factors determine how frequently women need to return for mammography screening. Women at the highest risk may consult via telephone with a trained breast health specialist.
  • Both groups will complete yearly questionnaires on the secure study website to give updates on their overall health and screening results.

You may choose to share your personal information gathered from the study—for example, genetic test results, consultation notes, and risk reports—with your physician to help guide your care.

By participating in the study, women will not only learn about their own breast health, but also contribute to scientific advancements in breast cancer screening that may impact women for generations to come.

This article originally appeared in the fall 2018 issue of OnHealth.