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DCI Speech on New Frontiers in Breast Cancer Screening

October 11, 1994

Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey departed from the usual topic of intelligence and warning to speak about specific skills and technologies developed within the Intelligence Community that may provide unique assistance to the critical women's health problem of breast cancer. Advanced imaging processing and display techniques developed for use by the Intelligence Community could enhance early detection of breast cancer in women and thereby aid in the prevention of a substantial share of the more than 46,000 deaths from breast cancer in the US each year according to Mr. Woolsey, who appeared at the request of Dr. Susan J. Blumenthal, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health, HHS, at a Capitol Hill briefing on breast cancer detection on 11 October 1994. "Enhanced mammography and MR-based pre-screening provided by applying technologies ... developed by the Intelligence Community can probably reduce the number of deaths occurring from breast cancer by 30 percent," offered Dr. Daniel Kopans, Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

The Intelligence Community's investigation into how techniques developed for missile detection and the monitoring of foreign military developments might assist the medical community was undertaken at the request of Dr. Blumenthal, and is consistent with Director Woolsey's desire to use technology developed by the Intelligence Community for broader applications benefiting Americans. None of the techniques presented is classified, nor does the Intelligence Community's making this technology available detract from its critical role of providing intelligence information to US policymakers. Director Woolsey commented "what we are trying to do is to use tools developed to protect the lives of 250,000,000 Americans toward also using them to help save the lives of a substantial share of the 46,000 women who die annually of breast cancer. Breast cancer is a problem of pressing national importance. Reinvention of government applies in our community as much as it does in the rest of the federal government."

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Posted: Apr 12, 2007 07:49 AM
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2008 12:11 PM