In June, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) held its annual meeting, considered the premier educational event in oncology, in Chicago. Jahan Mohiuddin, a third year medical student at the UNC School of Medicine, attended the meeting as a poster presenter.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Carey, Mohiuddin developed a Breast Cancer Risk Calculator, an online tool in which a user can answer a simple four-part questionnaire to determine a patient’s risk of breast cancer relapse. Mohiuddin wanted to provide physicians and patients with a model that was reliable and peer-reviewed. He believes it fills an “information gap” for patients.
“I think everyone knows someone who has or has had breast cancer,” said Mohiuddin. “The disease has such a big impact, which makes it very exciting to get involved with breast cancer research. I’m going to continue researching it in the future.”
When asked about the potential to exacerbate patients’ fears by assigning a numerical value to their risk of relapse, Mohiuddin is optimistic that the potential benefits will outweigh the costs.
“The feedback I valued the most at ASCO was from a patient advocate,” he said. “She is a breast cancer survivor herself, and works for a research foundation.…She was very excited about the website; she thought it filled a void, and when I brought up [the emotional aspect] with her, she didn’t think that it would be a major issue.”
In fact, during the conversation with the patient advocate, Mohiuddin discussed the potential for researching how patients use the tool and how it affects their emotional state.
“As with anything, you can see upsides and downsides,” he said. “But I think the benefits of having a peer-reviewed tool are very helpful.”
Watch the video for Mohiuddin’s explanation of the Breast Cancer Risk Calculator.
For more information on the Breast Cancer Risk Calculator visit: www.neoadjuvantrelapse.info.
Date: July 18, 2013