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Sanford Health taking part in TMIST breast cancer screening trial

Sanford Medical Center

It is the only health system in North Dakota to do so.

TMIST is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Sanford’s Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo has been enrolling participants since January, and Sanford Bismarck started recruiting patients in July.

Sanford Health is the only health care system in North Dakota taking part in a breast cancer screening trial aimed at personalizing breast cancer screenings for women.

Dr. Etta Pisano is chief science officer for the Center for Research and Innovation. She says women who elect to enroll in the TMIST, or Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial, will be randomly assigned to receive a 2D or 3D mammogram for their routine screenings over the course of five years.

"We could run a randomized trial with mortality endpoints, but that would take way too long. It would take up to thirty years. So what we decided instead was to estimate mortality through the measurement of the numbers of advanced or life threatening cancers in the population; the idea being that if these go down with the tomosynthesis technology, then we are very likely saving these women's lives."

To be eligible for the trial, patients must be between the ages of 45 and 75, not be pregnant or breastfeeding and be scheduled for a mammogram. They must also have no new symptoms of breast disease, no history of breast cancer and no breast enhancements.