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Wisconsin Startup with UW Ties Releases Breast Cancer Screening Tool

Posted on Feb 2, 2017

A publicly available tool that can help assess an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer and give information on the potential benefits or risks of mammography screening has been developed at the University of Wisconsin and released earlier this week. The tool, known as the Breast Cancer Screening tool, is one of several programs created by HealthDecision in Madison to assist in patient-doctor decision-making. Over-screening can lead to false positives and unnecessary anxiety and procedures. HealthDecision uses a patient’s health information and history to calculate the risks facing that patient and, in conjunction with the patient’s healthcare provider, to help make decisions regarding the usefulness of certain tests and screenings.

Creation of the Breast Cancer Screening tool was made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program. The grant was awarded to UW Radiology’s Dr. Elizabeth Burnside to work on creating a shared decision making tool to be used with doctors in making choices about cancer screening. Dr. Burnside, who in addition to her MD has a master’s degree in Medical Informatics, has focused much of her research on improving breast imaging decision-making.

“Organizations that make breast cancer screening guidelines and have access to the same data about screening mammography reach different and sometimes conflicting recommendations for women between 40-49 years of age,” Dr. Burnside notes. “Shared decision-making is recommended, but no tools are available to help primary care physicians, thus making risk- and value-based decisions challenging for patients and their providers. The concern is that women who would choose screening will not have the right information and may not have access. This tool addresses this complex challenge.”

HealthDecision, LLC, founded by former UW Department of Medicine Associate Professor Dr. Jon Keevil, has worked closely with UW faculty in the creation of its tools.

Read more on HealthDecision’s latest release at

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Last updated: 1/17/2018
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