At Prevent Breast Cancer, our team have been at the forefront of breast cancer research for years and, as such, they’re often invited to share their findings at some of the world’s most prestigious conferences, from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium to the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Last week, however, our researchers had much fewer miles to travel as they attended the first ever UK Interdisciplinary Breast Cancer Symposium, which was held at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. At the event, they discussed their current projects and how they’re helping to prevent the disease for future generations. It was incredibly exciting to have so many of the leading minds in breast cancer research under one roof – particularly in Manchester, a city that has made, and continues to make, groundbreaking discoveries about breast cancer and somewhere we’re proud to call our home.
Advances in gene research
First up was Prof Gareth Evans, professor of clinical genetics, who took to the stage to give a talk on ‘Risk prediction for risk reduction’, as part of the Measuring and Managing Breast Cancer Risk session at the conference. During his talk, Prof Evans presented the research findings of his study which was recently published in a prominent medical journal, JAMA Oncology. The study found that a new genetic test, when combined with breast density and other classic risk factors, can provide women with a much more accurate indication of their lifetime risk of getting breast cancer.
The test assesses risk based on genetic variations – called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs – in an individual’s DNA and can be used for the whole population, not just those who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, to indicate how likely they are to develop breast cancer.
The latest in diet and lifestyle breast cancer research
Meanwhile, our research dietitian, Dr Michelle Harvie, and her team presented their breast cancer research findings of two of their recent studies, B-AHEAD 2 and PROCAS Lifestyle.
B-AHEAD 2 investigated the effect of following different diets during chemotherapy. The study further highlighted the benefits of an intermittent diet, with it concluding that The 2-Day Diet is more effective than a standard continuous diet at controlling weight and reducing the toxicity of certain chemotherapy treatments.
The second study, PROCAS Lifestyle, assessed the best ways to engage women with interventions designed to reduce their risk of breast cancer and other diseases. Specifically, it tested whether or not being aware of your own risk affects how likely you are to join or stick to a weight loss programme carried out over the phone and online. The results showed that breast cancer risk information does significantly increase uptake and retention, a finding that could help to deliver the programme effectively and prevent breast cancer for the estimated 60,000 overweight or obese high risk women in family history clinics across the UK.
Other Prevent Breast Cancer scientists displaying their breast cancer research findings at the event included Ashu Gandhi, who conducted research into the impact of breast surgery – mastectomy and/or reconstruction – on high risk women’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing.
Of course, this is just a snapshot of the incredible work our researchers do on a daily basis. You can find out more on our research page, or see how you can get involved and help us on our mission to create a breast cancer-free future.