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The one hundred honoree: Daniel B. Kopans, MD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Daniel B. Kopans, MD

Mass General Giving

Daniel B. Kopans, MD, has dedicated his career to improving the technology of mammography and the health of women.

A life-long advocate of mammographic screening to increase early detection of breast cancer, Dr. Kopans was one of the few experts to challenge the National Cancer Institute’s controversial 1993 assessment that women under 50 did not benefit from regular mammograms. Arguing that the assessment was based on inconsistent studies, he insisted that women in their 40s can significantly benefit from mammograms.

Dr. Kopans’ leadership played a major role in reversing NCI’s assessment, thereby increasing younger women’s access to screening. Since 1990, the breast cancer death rate in the United States has decreased by almost 30 percent, primarily because of an increase in mammography screening.

Dr. Kopans has pioneered innovations in early breast cancer detection, including tomosynthesis, a procedure that increases the accuracy of mammograms without significantly increasing radiation exposure, and the Kopans Wire, a tool that helps clinicians detect small breast tumors.