October is now past the half way point, which means we’re in the final stretch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That does not mean we’re almost done with our work or will ease up on any of our activities after October. In fact, if anything, we’re gearing up for more research in the coming months. I’m happy to share some exciting things happening at the Foundation.
First of all, we are thrilled to announce that we recently received a grant of $3 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to continue work on our self-reading ultrasound for triage of palpable breast lumps. While screening has been the focus in western countries, in developing countries breast cancer most commonly presents as a palpable lump in women younger than 50 years old. The most common types of lumps in young women are distinguishable on ultrasound and fewer than 25% are cancer. During the first phase of the NIH-funded study, the CAD system demonstrated that it could have potentially reduced the number of benign lesions that were biopsied by around 50%. A pilot study in Mexico demonstrated that health care workers without imaging training could acquire images equivalent to those obtained by a trained radiologist and that the CAD was able to distinguish between cancers and benign lesions.
The Phase II grant will be used to apply what was learned during Phase I to the Low- and Middle-Income Country (LMIC) environment in Mexico. We’ll spend the next three years working with colleagues in Guadalajara and Tijuana to test the technology and proof that it has the ability to ensure that the women who need care get it while maximizing local resources and reassuring the women who have benign lumps.
A huge thank you to the more than 300 people who have donated to support Team Love in the Revlon Love Is On Challenge! We are more than 85% of the way toward our goal of raising $100,000! Help us get there by making a donation today – every gift is deeply appreciated and each gift of $10 or more enters you into a drawing for a High 5 Package of Los Angeles Clippers tickets!
We are also just over two weeks away from our Provider-Survivor Think Tank. This is part of our Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Collateral Damage Project that makes this study truly innovative. As I’ve mentioned in this letter over the last several months, we have gone beyond standard patient reported outcomes, which still only answer questions asked by researchers or doctors. We have engaged our MBC Advocate Task Force at every step and have crowdsourced input from a wider group of MBC patients to develop the questionnaire.
Over 500 people completed the questionnaire in just over one month. We thank Susan G. Komen, METAvivor, and Young Survival Coalition for topping a long list of supporting organizations that helped get the word out about this important project.
Our amazing collaborators, Annette L. Stanton, PhD, Professor from UCLA and Jessica Clague deHart, PhD, MPH from City of Hope, have been diligently working to analyze the data. It will all be presented on November 10 & 11 to more than 30 Provider-Survivors, people who work in healthcare delivery who are also cancer survivors themselves, and the Advocate Task Force. We are challenging this group to use the data to develop recommendations that will improve quality of life for people living with metastatic disease.
I will report back next month about the results from this unique program!
Heather Cooper Ortner
Research reported in this press release is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UH3CA189966. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.