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Shepherd Research Lab

    Accessible Breast Cancer Screening in the Pacific

    This study is funded by the U54 Grant #5U54CA143727: University of Guam/University of Hawaii Cancer Center Partnership under Dr. Neal Palafox. Since 2003, the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center (UH Cancer Center) and the University of Guam (UOG) have worked in partnership to explore the reasons behind significant cancer health disparities among Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi, Guam and the neighboring U.S. Associated Pacific Islands (USAPI). The University of Guam/University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center Partnership is one of only 14 Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE), a program of the NCI that supports cancer research capacity building at minority-serving institutions and collaborative research addressing cancer health disparities and their impact on underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. The UOG/UH Cancer Center Partnership is the only PACHE serving Pacific Islanders (PI), with an emphasis on Micronesians. The partnership addresses cancer health disparities through research, training, and community outreach.


    iBreast portable ultrasound device for breast cancer screening

    In this pre-pilot study, we propose to evaluate the effectiveness of the iBreastExam (iBE) as an early detection tool among women of Pacific Islander ancestry. We would also test the acceptance of the technology with an interview of the participants. With the completion of this pilot, we would gain a preliminary understanding of the strengths and limitations of this device and the acceptance of the device in the community.

    The pre-pilot studies would be performed in Guam to prepare for a larger pilot study in both Guam and Hawaii. The impact of these outcomes is that this new technology may offer a means to diagnose breast cancer early in areas without mammography and thereby reduce breast cancer health disparities in the Pacific.


    Our objective is to assess breast cancer detection among women in the Pacific, using a hand-held point-of-care medical device for breast cancer screening which could potentially augment diagnostic mammography in the Pacific Islands.

    Our overall hypothesis is the utility of iBreastExam (iBE) device, combined with Clinical Breast Exam (CBE), will find invasive breast cancer lesions sooner than CBE alone and without a higher biopsy rate than screening mammography.

    Our specific aims are:

    1. Characterize iBE-specific elasticity using phantoms with tissue-like elasticities to understand the detectability of malignant lesions in terms of diameter, depth, breast density and thickness
    2. Investigate the sensitivity and specificity of iBE versus mammography and recommended to undergo biopsy, as well as the test-retest precision of the iBE alone
    3. Assess the acceptability of iBE by age, race/ethnicity, mammography history, and knowledge/attitudes regarding breast cancer and screening practices among women with Chamoru, Filipino, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Island ancestry.

    Research Team

    John Shepherd, PhD

    Co-Principal Investigator

    UH Cancer Center

    Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD


    UH Cancer Center

    Kevin Cassel, DrPH


    UH Cancer Center

    Teofila Cruz, PhD, RN

    Co-Principal Investigator

    University of Guam

    Roy Salvador Adonay, MS


    COO, Administrator, Guam Radiology Consultants


    University of Guam
    UOG Station
    Mangilao, Guam 96913

    Guam Radiology Consultants
    633 Gov. Carlos Camacho Rd.
    Tamuning, Guam 96913
    Phone: (671) 649-1001
    Fax: (671) 648-1002


    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
    701 Ilalo Street
    Honolulu, HI 96813

    Funding Source(s)

    U54: University of Guam/University of Hawaii Cancer Center Partnership header image

    National Cancer Institute
    Through the UH Cancer Center/University of Guam U54 competitive renewal grant
    09/01/2018 – 8/31/2020

    Publications & Presentations

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