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Environmental Factor, October 2014

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NIEHS marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Eddy Ball

Breast cancer and the environment research program, NIEHS, NCI, Extended Environmental Exposures logo
The Sister Study Breast cancer research logo

NIEHS joins individuals and organizations across the U.S. in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. Visitors to the NIEHS website will notice several special features marking its recognition, in addition to ongoing programs and research to better understand and prevent breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure.

NIEHS initiatives

NIEHS supports research on the environmental causes of breast cancer and, with its partner, the National Cancer Institute, devoted $35 million from 2003 to 2010 to the national network of NIEHS Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers at major universities and research institutes.

In 2010, the initiative entered its second phase, the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program, which will hold its 2014 annual meeting Nov. 19-21 in San Francisco. The program supports a multidisciplinary network of scientists, clinicians, and community partners to examine the effects of environmental exposures that may predispose a woman to breast cancer in later life.

Along with in-house research on breast cancer and cancer-related mechanisms in several labs at NIEHS, the Epidemiology Branch at NIEHS conducts the ongoing Sister Study. The study is prospectively examining environmental and familial risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases in a cohort of 50,000 cancer-free sisters of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

NIEHS maintains an environmental health topics section online, with user-friendly information on breast cancer.

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