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Bucket List 53/100 - Wendy Will Blog
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Bucket List 53/100

October 17, 2011

Bucket List: 53/100
Participate in a breast cancer clinical study.

The irony, right? This particular bucket list item randomly chosen (yes, I used Random Number Generator to choose) during “Breast Cancer Awareness” month and the third anniversary of my own diagnosis.

At least a year ago – or more – I joined the Army of Women, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. The site is used essentially to partner women with the disease and scientists seeking to find a cure for breast cancer. It’s all on a volunteer basis and upon registering you are notified about clinical studies happening that may be appropriate to your particular diagnosis.

So, of course I signed up for the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research Program at the Siteman Cancer Center/Washington University School of Medicine. The scientists there are studying the genetic makeup of women with early onset breast cancer (me). The woman’s genes are compared with her parents’ as well as women without the disease and her respective parents too.

Here’s geneticist Paul Goodfellow, PhD discussing the research program:

My involvement was fairly simple. They sent me a kit to have my blood drawn and a Fed-Ex envelope to ship it off to their lab. My dad also agreed to have his blood drawn and studied but I don’t think he’s had it done yet (this is your official hint, Dad).

Women my age represent a very small fraction of those diagnosed overall. There is not enough long term data or studies which poses several problems in areas of prevention and screening – doctors simply don’t know how to manage young women with breast cancer. Additionally, the study of early onset breast cancer is NOT a major for science because of the small number of affected women and thus research money goes to programs geared for women diagnosed over 40 years old.

I’m pretty proud to be a part of the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research Program because who knows what will come of it. Imagine if my genes held the answers to curing early onset breast cancer!

53/100 = done.

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