Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Cathy Peattie has signed up to groundbreaking study into the causes of breast cancer

Cathy Peattie MSP with Audrey Birt, Scotland Director for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, with the Study questionnaire

Cathy with Audrey Birt, Scotland Director 0f Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is one of nearly 7,000 Scottish women participating in the world’s most comprehensive study into the causes of breast cancer – the Breakthrough Generations Study. The study will follow 100,000 women for the next 40 years, providing information about lifestyle, environmental, genetic and hormonal factors which will help identify the causes of breast cancer. In future the findings will enable women to reduce their risk of the disease and hopefully to ultimately prevent it.

The Breakthrough Generations Study has been set up in partnership between Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Institute of Cancer Research. Participants in the study are asked to fill out a detailed lifestyle questionnaire and give a blood sample every five years for the next 40 years. Such a long study is required in order to understand the complex mixture of factors which may be involved in the development of breast cancer and which may act at different stages of life.

Cathy said: “4,000 women in Scotland are diagnosed with the disease each year. Over a thousand die.

“In the Forth Valley area, we have nearly 200 diagnosed each year, and for more than a quarter, breast cancer is fatal. I am very pleased to take part in the Breakthrough Generations Study as it is vital we establish what actually causes breast cancer. I am keen to play my part, and I would like to thank all the others, locally and nationally, who have done so.”

Audrey Birt, Scotland Director for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “The Breakthrough Generations Study is an amazing example of women from all walks of life working together with scientists to try to find answers to breast cancer and we are very pleased to have Cathy’s support. We hope that the information collected by the 100,000 participants will lead to significant leaps forward in our knowledge of this disease.”

The Breakthrough Generations Study has been set up in partnership between Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The ongoing analysis costs of the study are being met in part by Marks & Spencer, through its support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

  • The target for recruitment was set at 100,000 women. This target has now been met and as such the Study is not looking to recruit any more participants.
  • 234 women are taking part in the Forth Valley area
  • The study is led by Anthony Swerdlow, Professor of Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, and Professor Alan Ashworth, Director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre.
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer is the UK’s leading charity committed to fighting breast cancer through research, campaigning and education. In January 2009, Breakthrough Breast Cancer established an office in Scotland based in Thistle Street, Edinburgh. Telephone 0131 226 0763 or email scotlandinfo@breakthrough.org.uk
  • To find out more about the Breakthrough Generations Study, visit www.breakthroughgenerations.org.uk

Breast cancer facts:

  • Around 4,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Scotland.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in Scotland. It accounts for nearly 1 in 3 of all cancers in women.
  • More than 1,000 women die of breast cancer every year in Scotland.
  • It is estimated that over 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland will survive for at least five years.
  • The most recent estimate suggests around 1 in 100 women in Scotland have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.
  • Over 80% of breast cancer occurs in women over 50 years of age.
  • More women than ever before are surviving breast cancer thanks to better awareness, better treatments and better screening.
  • Around 20 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Scotland.

Breast cancer risk factors

  • Although we still don’t know the exact causes of breast cancer, we do know that women who maintain a healthy weight, limit alcohol consumption and exercise regularly can reduce their risk of developing the disease.
  • Getting older increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Find out what else can increase or decrease risk at: http://www.breakthrough.org.uk/about_breast_cancer/breast_awareness_risk_factors
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