Jennifer Harvey, M.D.
Head of Division of Breast Imaging
Mammographic breast density and its influence on breast cancer risk.
Women with mammographically dense breast tissue are known to be at increased risk for breast cancer, regardless of hormone use. Breast density is a better predictor of breast cancer risk than serum cholesterol predicts risk of cardiovascular incidents. The increase in risk from increased breast density may be mediated through overactive aromatase converting steroids to estrogen within the breast tissue- a process that may be genetically mediated. Dr. Harvey's work has focused on the histologic correlates of breast density and methods of measuring breast density.
UVA Mammography Project
In 2011, Dr. Harvey began work on a study designed to increase the ability to predict a woman's risk for breast cancer based on her breast density. The study will include 4,000 women — 1,000 women with breast cancer and 3,000 healthy women.
This research, which is funded by the Department of Defense, aims to help create a risk model that personalizes breast cancer screening recommendations.
These personalized recommendations could change the way breast cancer screenings are performed. Some women may need more frequent mammograms or additional screening methods; others may need less frequent mammograms.
The objective is to have the breast density risk model built within three years. It will be tested nationally and then available for widespread use within six years.
Is Screening Detected Bilateral Axillary Adenopathy on Mammography Clinically Significant? Chetlen A, Nicholson B, Patrie JT, Harvey JA. Breast J. 2012 Oct 19. doi: 10.1111/tbj.12040. [Epub ahead of print]
Incidental pleural effusions detected on screening breast MRI. Nguyen J, Nicholson BT, Patrie JT, Harvey JA. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012 Jul;199(1):W142-5.
follow-up of palpable breast lesions with benign imaging features:
evaluation of 375 lesions in 320 women. Harvey JA, Nicholson
BT, Lorusso AP, Cohen MA, Bovbjerg VE. AJR Am J
Roentgenol. 2009 Dec;193(6):1723-30.