Breast cancer affects one in 12 Australian women at some point in their lives.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology has identified a new technique designed to predict breast cancer in women.

Conducted by University of Melbourne researchers, the data was gathered from 354 women living with breast cancer and 944 women without breast cancer.

Professor John Hopper from the University of Melbourne said the research was very useful for young women in particular.

“The technique is designed to get a picture of their risk, both in terms of their family history, any genetic predisposition, and their mammographic density according to the bright spots found on the mammogram” said Prof Hopper.

Once results from this technique are collected, the next step is to determine the best breast screening management for women undergoing testing.

When studying a mammogram, radiologists examine the areas of breast density that show up as white or bright spots from which the radiologist is able to define whether the spots are hiding existing tumours, or predicting whether the woman is at heightened risk of developing breast cancer.

The findings are not only relevant to digital mammography, but also to the decades of mammographic density research involving Western women using non-digital mammography.