The goal of the MERIT study is to develop the next generation of innovative approaches to improve early detection of breast cancer.
MERIT is an acronym for: Mammography, Early detection biomarkers, Risk assessment and Imaging Technologies.
Help us end breast cancer. Be a part of MD Anderson's early detection study.
Mammography is currently the standard-of-care for detection of breast cancer throughout the world. However, mammography cannot detect all breast cancers, including some cancers in women who have dense breast tissues. The MERIT study is testing new technologies, including blood tests and imaging techniques, to improve breast cancer detection for all women.
The MERIT research team is seeking up to 10,000 women to participate in the study. Each participant receives a $25 gift card. You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:
- are a woman between the ages of 25-80 who receives annual screening mammograms.
- have not had breast cancer.
- have not been treated for other cancers within the last five years (not including non-melanoma skin cancer or in-situ cervical cancer).
- have not breast fed within the last six months.
- are willing to complete a questionnaire and provide blood samples.
How To Participate
Step 1: Schedule your mammogram appointment
Mammogram appointments may be scheduled online or by phone at 713-792-7171. To participate in the MERIT study, mammogram appointments must be scheduled at the main campus. You can use a prescription from your own clinician, or you can self-refer. Please be sure you provide the correct email address and phone number when scheduling your appointment.
Step 2: Sign up for the MERIT study
You will receive a link by email to sign up for the MERIT study about a week before your appointment. Once you have indicated your interest in the study, you will be contacted via phone by a study coordinator to complete the consent process.
Step 3: Visit MD Anderson for your appointments
On the day of your mammogram, you will be scheduled for a lab appointment in the Mays Clinic Diagnostic Center.
Appointment and Study Information
You will have your annual screening mammogram and your MERIT lab appointments on the same day. The mammogram images are read by radiologists as usual, and then saved and used for research purposes.
Participants will donate three tablespoons of blood (less than 10 percent of a typical blood donation). The blood will be processed and stored in the MD Anderson biobank and will be used to test for markers of breast cancer. The test results are for research only and will not be placed in the medical records of participants.
After their MERIT lab appointment, participants will fill out a questionnaire through a link to a secure website. Family history of cancer, diet and other health questions will be asked. The questionnaire will take approximately 15-25 minutes to complete.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the meaning of the study name, MERIT?
MERIT is an acronym: Mammography, Early detection biomarkers, Risk assessment and Imaging Technologies.
What time can I schedule my MERIT research appointment?
We're currently enrolling women who schedule mammogram appointments between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Can I still participate in the MERIT study if I reschedule my mammogram appointment?
Yes, you can still participate. Your original MERIT study appointment will automatically be cancelled, and you will be sent another invitation via email or text message.
Will I be able to fit the MERIT study appointment in between other clinic appointments?
Yes, the lab is flexible and will see you for the blood draw around your previously scheduled appointments.
I cannot provide blood samples. Can I still participate in the MERIT study?
Unfortunately, no. The study requires blood samples to pair with the imaging and questionnaire data from participants. However, you can still participate if you do not wish to complete some of the questions from the questionnaire.
I have been invited to participate in another research study at MD Anderson. Can I also participate in the MERIT study?
Yes, most of the time you can participate in more than one research study. Please let the MERIT research staff know that you are participating in other studies so that they can make an eligibility determination. The MERIT staff will also help to coordinate blood draws, if applicable.
Will I receive any of the data from this study?
No, the data from the MERIT study is for research purposes only and will not be provided to participants or placed in any medical records. However, the research data may be used to qualify participants for clinical trials or other research studies. In this case, participants will be notified by the MERIT staff via email or text message if they qualify for additional studies.
I see that you will continue to collect my data annually for the next five years. Am I required to return to MD Anderson for my mammograms in the future to participate in MERIT?
No, you are not required to return to MD Anderson for future mammograms to participate in MERIT. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire to update your health information in the future.