Breast Exams Performed By The Hands Of Nurses And Doctors About To Get Better

National Science Foundation grant establishes Clinical Breast Exam Competency Network

April 7, 2015GAINESVILLE, Fla.Breast exams are about to get better because the National Science Foundation awarded MammaCare a Phase llB project grant. The grant establishes a “Clinical Breast Exam Competency Network” (CBECN) to document the palpation skills of clinical students on a national scale. In Phase II, MammaCare simulator-trainer technology demonstrated significant improvement in breast tumor detection skills while reducing false positive alarms. In Phase IIB, collaborators from Capgemini and Qlik will contribute large data analytics technology that captures and reports student’s exam results from all participating universities.

Mark Kane Goldstein, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator and MammaCare Senior Scientist said, “the absence of breast exam performance standards allowed antique, ineffective exploratory examination practices that miss small cancers and generate false alarms.” The American Cancer Society (ACS) acknowledged that a palpable lump is most often the first sign of breast cancer and a new landmark study of 89,000 women supports the ACS report. “Science and medicine developed quality-standard protocols for detection of disease and we applied these standards to clinical breast exams,” Goldstein added.

The MammaCare simulator-trainer technology enables students to master breast exam palpation skills using a standard series of tactually accurate breast models that replicate the properties of normal, nodular breast tissue. The models contain small, hidden breast tumors engineered to match the characteristics of breast cancers. The system measures and reports each true positive detection, false positive detection and breast tissue coverage in three dimensions. In practice, the computer’s program advances students through successively more complex examination tasks only after they have mastered the preceding task. The data from each student’s breast exam is added to the CBECN database.

Dr. Mary Ann Mehn, MammaCare’s Director of Training, said “the ultimate benefit will be realized by our nation’s women whose clinical breast exams will be performed by skilled hands that measure up to quality standards.”

Media Contact
Mark Kane Goldstein, Ph.D.

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