More women sign up for breast cancer screening study


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — More women have signed up for a national breast cancer screening study after researchers announced an expansion.

The National Cancer Institute is conducting research on how breast imaging is impacted by a patient’s history and risk factors. The results of the study, known as TMIST (Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial), will help personalize screening decisions for women.

At least 165,000 women across the United States have signed up to participate in the study, including 900 at Carle in Urbana. Carle is expanding the study to include women at Carle in Danville this summer.

The TMIST study compares results among women who receive 2D and 3D mammograms. Researchers do not know yet which mammography technology will reduce a woman’s risk of developing advanced cancer. Dr. Ken Rowland said this study could change that.

“3D has more radiation. 3D has more cost,” Rowland said. “It takes more radiology to read them. It’s the technology that we never really found out who benefits and who doesn’t. In the end, is more technology actually benefiting women? Are more people living because they’re getting one technology versus the other? We need to answer the question.”

Carle in Urbana has the second highest sign-up rate for the study in the country. Rowland said that isn’t a surprising statistic.

“We have a great community,” he said. “And those are the heroes of our community.”

Laura Mabry, a spokeswoman for Carle, is a participant in the study. She said when she received a letter about the study, she went to Carle to learn if she was a candidate.

“I just keep thinking there are people that probably throw that letter away,” Mabry said. “I wish they wouldn’t, because I feel so good knowing I’m providing information that’s going to help people for generations to come.”

Like Rowland, Mabry wasn’t surprised when she first learned how many women have signed up for the study in Central Illinois.

“We really do have a lot of research happening here,” she said. “We call on the local community and there are always people who say, ‘if I can help future generations, if I can help my kids or someone else’s kids, I’d be happy to do that.'”

Rowland said he has one message for the study’s participants.

“I just want to give a thank you to the 900 women who have signed up for this trial and are already participating,” he said. “That’s huge.”

Women between the ages of 45 to 74 who have not had breast cancer are eligible to participate. You can learn more about enrolling in the TMIST study by calling 217-383-6846 or by emailing

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