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BACKGROUND

Mammographic density is known to be strongly related to breast cancer risk but its relationship with other risk factors for breast cancer, and the extent to which such factors act through increasing breast density is still unclear. Increased mammographic density is also known to adversely affect the sensitivity of mammographic screening and so it is important to understand how certain lifestyle and other factors may alter screening sensitivity through their effects on breast density.

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE, RESEARCH METHODS AND TRAINING

We seek a PhD student with an interest in epidemiology to advance existing knowledge about the role of breast density in breast cancer risk and detection.

The successful candidate will initially assess relationships between machine-learning derived measures of mammographic density and behavioural and other factors in the Million Women Study using data from ~500,000 mammographic images. They will then relate various measures of breast density (e.g. percent density, asymmetry in breast density, and changes in breast density over time) with the risk of breast cancer and its major subtypes and establish the extent to which the effects of other known risk factors are mediated through breast density. Analyses will consider variation in the impact of breast density on risk by age and other risk factors.

FIELD WORK, SECONDMENTS, INDUSTRY PLACEMENTS AND TRAINING

Training will be provided within the department on data analysis and statistical methods and, if necessary, by external courses.

PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATE

The ideal candidate should have an MSc degree in epidemiology or statistics or a closely related subject.

Supervisors