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Spring 2012

Athena Offers New Approach to Breast Care

The Athena Breast Health Network is a project the five UC cancer centers, including UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, established to unite women, physicians and researchers to better personalize breast-cancer prevention, screening and treatment. All women who receive breast care at UCLA will be asked to fill out an online health history that will assist physicians to personalize their screening and breast-cancer-prevention plan. They also will be asked to give a small sample of blood or saliva to help UCLA with breast-cancer research on advancing preventative care approaches and future development of healthier and more effective treatments.

If a woman is identified as being at a higher risk for breast cancer, she will be referred to appropriate resources, such as risk-reduction programs or genetic counseling, and the program will continue to monitor her health and care. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will be offered the latest options in medical care and access to promising new approaches through clinical trials.

The goal of Athena is to provide personalized risk assessment to guide each patient's breast-health plan, explains Arash Naeim, M.D., Ph.D., UCLA hematologist/oncologist and principal investigator. "Based on the latest knowledge in the field, we will be able to offer each patient more and better choices for her individual care," he says. "We will also partner with the patient's primary-care physician so that together we can assist her in better managing her health."

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