If your sister has or has had breast cancer, you may want to join a new national research project, which will look at the impact of genetics and the environment on the development of the disease. Since sisters have both share genetics and lived in the same environment as children, scientists will try to tease out the cause of breast cancer in the unlucky sister.
The study will last 10 years and volunteers will be asked to donate blood urine, toenails, and even house dust. To participate in the study, women must be between 35 and 74, and have a sister, living or dead who has or has had breast cancer.
The 'Sister Study' will be conducted buy the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They hope to enroll 50,000 women in this largest study of its kind.
If you'd like to volunteer for the sister study, you can ( click here ). Or, if you prefer to get information by phone, you can call 1-877-474-7837.
If you happen to be one of the 130,000 women diagnosed this year with early breast stage cancer, there is some help now on making that all important decision-should you have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has put together a 21 page brochure to help you choose between the two forms of surgery. The two surgeries offer the same rate of survival (70% living after 10 years) but there is a higher risk of redevelopment of with the lumpectomy.
Women who have mastectomies do not necessarily live longer. This is because of the difference in the nature of tumors. Some are slow growing while others kill even if detected early.
Women who have lumpectomies are advised to have radiation treatments. This is another reason some women opt for mastectomies. In the United States, 56% of women still have mastectomies. In England, the rate is 31% and in France, it is 28%.
Some experts in the U.S. feel that the mastectomy rate is too high in the U.S. To help with all these discrepancies, the brochure, "Surgery choices for Women with Early Breast Cancer," has been developed.
It is available by calling 1-800-4 CANCER (422-6237) or through the NCI website at www.nci.nih.gov.
Finally, good news for post menopausal women. A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine finds that while it is not for everyone, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may actually prolong a younger woman's life.
It is a matter of weighing the benefits against the risks and making individual decisions. This may be very good news for women who have severe menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and were hesitant to take HRT because of earlier negative findings.