About Our Research

Prevent Breast Cancer funds high quality research into the prediction and prevention of breast cancer.

Trial App

Our Philosophy

Around the world, a lot of effort is made researching new drugs and treatments for breast cancer. At Prevent Breast Cancer, our philosophy is different, for we believe that prevention is better than cure.

We want to see a world where there is no before or after diagnosis.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the UK. Every day, 153 people are diagnosed and despite advances in treatment there are still 11,500 people dying of breast cancer in the UK each year.

Through our research, we believe we can stop breast cancer before it starts. And being situated at the only breast cancer prevention centre in the UK, we’re right at the front line in the fight against the disease.

We are the only UK breast cancer charity entirely dedicated to funding ground-breaking research solely aimed at preventing the disease for future generations.

We have been a registered charity since 1997 and since that time have awarded over £4.9 million to breast cancer prevention research. It’s important to mention that we never fund research that involves animal testing.

Breast cancer risk

Here at Prevent Breast Cancer, we use the idea of a spectrum when we talk about breast cancer risk, rather than quoting numbers such as 1 in 9, 1 in 8 etc. This is because we believe these numbers are in fact a bit misleading.

At one end of the scale, there are women who carry a very high-risk gene such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, whose risk can be as high as 85%. At the other end of the scale are women who, as a result of their genetics and lifestyle have only a very low risk of around 1 in 50.

Most women are somewhere in the middle. For the average woman, who does not carry a high-risk gene, the risk is probably around 1 in 20.

What areas of breast cancer research do we fund?

Breast cancer is not caused by one factor alone, but a combination of factors – the genes you are born with, the environment in which you grow up, and several lifestyle factors.

For that reason, our research strategy is targeted and specialist, focussed on four pillars of research.

gene research

Gene Research

Investigating how changes and mutations in genes can affect someone’s risk of developing breast cancer.

What we know so far:

  • Gene mutations can cause breast cancer
  • High risk genes currently include BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2
  • Our scientists have identified tiny gene fragments/ variations, which have an impact on breast cancer risk (SNPs)
Early Detection & Screening

Screening & Early Detection

Identifying new and unique screening methods to ensure early and accurate diagnoses.

What we know so far:

Risk Reducing Research

Lifestyle & Environmental Risk Factors

Research into lifestyle factors and how diet and exercise can reduce an individual’s risk.

What we know so far:

preventative drugs

Preventative Drugs

Investigating drugs that can be used as a preventative measure to reduce an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer.

What we know so far:

  • There are three drugs available now, which are approved for breast cancer prevention – Tamoxifen, Raloxifene and Anastrozole
  • These can be prescribed for women at high risk
  • Most drugs have side effects, but they do not affect all women
  • Our intention is to continue to look for other drugs

Prediction and Prevention – what are our research aims?

research aims

Our research means we can confidently say we can predict an individual woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Indeed, much of our research is undertaken with this practical objective in mind: introducing smarter breast screening to the UK, that not only detects but predicts cancer, so we can stop the disease before it starts.

Why prediction is vital

Knowing who is at risk:

  • Can give early warning and can lead to a very early diagnosis.
  • Allows preventative interventions, including frequent screening, preventative drugs, and lifestyle interventions.
  • In very high-risk women, there is the option of preventative surgery.

Accurate methods to predict risk

  • A gene test (saliva or blood)
  • A mammogram to assess breast density
  • Assessment of lifestyle

Who carries out our research?

Due to our charitable fundraising, we fund a grant making programme. We have one round of applications each year, and anyone is allowed to apply, as long as their breast cancer research project falls within the remit of our four pillars of research.

We work closely with the experts at The Manchester Breast Centre., however we fund research across the UK.

About Prevent Breast Cancer

Prevent Breast Cancer is the only UK charity entirely dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer – we’re committed to freeing the world from the disease altogether. Unlike many cancer charities, we’re focused on preventing, rather than curing. Promoting early diagnosis, screening and lifestyle changes, we believe we can stop the problem before it starts. And being situated at the only breast cancer prevention centre in the UK, we’re right at the front-line in the fight against the disease. Join us today and help us create a future free from breast cancer. If you have any questions or concerns, email us today.

on January 1, 2023.

on January 1, 2023.