Recruitment of 50,000 sisters of women with breast cancer

TAMPA, FLA. - At this month's Tampa Bay-area Race for the Cure, medical researchers will begin recruiting women for a unique effort to determine the causes of breast cancer - the "Sister Study." Researchers hope to eventually enroll 50,000 women volunteers nationally, ages 35 to 74, whose sisters have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sisters of women with breast cancer are known to be at greater risk of breast cancer - up to twice the risk of other women. By following these sisters for ten years, the researchers hope to find clues as to why:

Is it genes they shared? A common diet? Early menstruation? A household or environmental chemical? A gene-environment interaction? By means of simple tests and questionnaires, the researchers - from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of the federal National Institutes of Health - will look at these and other factors.

The volunteers themselves may gain no medical benefit from the research but, as one of the women involved has said, "Our daughters may."

The first phase of recruiting will focus on the Tampa area where recruiters will sign up potential volunteers at the Survivors Tent during the Sept. 21 Race for the Cure at Straub Park, in adjacent St. Petersburg. Recruitment will continue following the race, taking advantage of volunteers who have agreed to help spread the word about the study, the internet, and other media.

A similar effort will kick off recruitment in Phoenix, Ariz., at its Oct. 13 Race for the Cure, then St. Louis, Mo., and Providence, R.I. - selected for their size and geographic, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. The initial recruiting goal for the four cities together is 2,000 participants over the next six to nine months.

Recruiting strategies will be fine-tuned in these cities before the study goes national next year.

Sister Study repre

Contact: Bill Grigg
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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