Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis have designed a method in what has been described as a better way to predict risk of breast cancer in women.

The new model, called Rosner-Colditz, can not only help quantify a woman's risk of developing breast cancer but also identify women who are at greater risk.

"Over the past 20 years, we have worked to develop a more complete model for classifying risk of breast cancer," Graham A Colditz, one of the researchers and associate director for cancer prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center, said in a statement.

The study on the Rosner-Colditz model for breast cancer has been published in the latest issue of the journal, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

According to the study, the model considers factors such as a woman's age at menopause and whether she had natural or surgical menopause to determine cancer risk, besides considering the known predicting factors such as body mass index, alcohol consumption and age at first menstrual period.

The model can accurately predict the likelihood of women aged 47 to 69 who would develop breast cancer in the next five years.

"One-quarter of all breast cancer cases are diagnosed in the 10 percent of women at highest risk in any five-year age group," Colditz added. "These are the women who will benefit most from interventions that are known to reduce risk."

He said that his team is trying to integrate the model into clinical care so that when a woman comes for regular breast check-up, she is also given an estimate of her risk of developing breast cancer over the next five years that will aid in prevention of the disease.

"The next step is to incorporate it into clinical practice so we can improve prevention."