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Shepherd Research Lab Blog

New Pilot Study by the HIPIMR Team

The Hawaiʻi and Pacific Islands Mammography Registry (HIPIMR) has been approved for a pilot study, “Breast Cancer Risk Assessment in Hawaii and the USAPI” with U54 funding, led by Principal Investigators John Shepherd (UH Cancer Center) and Grazyna Badowski (University of Guam).

HIPIMR has a number of ongoing projects evaluating breast cancer risk and screening techniques to improve the outcomes of women with breast cancer, with a specific focus on underrepresented communities in the Pacific. These studies look into ways of improving risk assessments and access to breast cancer screening. Much of HIPIMR’s work also includes the use of AI. The registry currently has over 45 million DICOM images in breast imaging that are being used to train AI models for the detection of breast cancer.

This study aims to identify the clinical risk factors and breast imaging characteristics in underrepresented groups through mammography screening in Hawaiʻi and Guam.

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have high rates of breast cancer but current risk models aren’t calibrated to consider these races/ethnicities. The goal is to better account for these populations and identify women who may be at risk. This can make screening more efficient and improve the outcomes for AANHPI women with breast cancer.

This research is possible thanks to funding from the U54 grant (U54CA143727), an ongoing partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center and the University of Guam. Supported by the National Cancer Institute, this relationship is part of the Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) which focuses on research addressing cancer health disparities.

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