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National Breast Cancer Study Recruiting Sisters

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of NIH, is launching the largest national study of its kind to investigate the genetic and environmental causes of breast cancer in a unique and superb way: By enrolling 50,000 sisters of women already diagnosed with the disease.

The premise behind the Sister Study: Studying sisters who share the same genes, often had similar experiences and environments and are at twice the risk of developing breast cancer gives researchers a better chance of learning the causes behind this disease.

Sisters who volunteer will donate blood, urine, toenails and even household dust to help uncover how daily rituals and routines, as well as genetics, factor into breast cancer risk. Because, as one researcher says, genes don't completely explain why breast cancer exists.

To be eligible for the study, women need to be between 35 and 74 years old. Women who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer are eligible if a sister, living or dead, has had breast cancer. The women will be tracked for 10 years so researchers can study what links the few who get breast cancer compared with the majority who do not.

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, after skin cancer. Some 216,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society, and will kill about 40,000 women in 2004.

For more information, check out the National Cancer Institute's Web site.

MSN October 19, 2004

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