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November 2004 Issue

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New Data Registry Seeks to Prevent Breast Cancer

Published November 2004

A major survey has begun in the Greater Cincinnati area that may help prevent breast cancer by closing an information gap.

Data obtained from women and men diagnosed with breast cancer will be included in the Breast Cancer Registry of Greater Cincinnati, recently established by the Department of Environmental Health.

The significance of the project is that while other initiatives have focused on treatment, the registry will assemble much-needed information on causes, a crucial first step in prevention.

The UC researchers who maintain the registry and analyze the data work closely with the Breast Cancer Alliance, the Pink Ribbon Girls, Patterns, Sisters Network Cincinnati, and other advocacy and service groups.

Ultimately, it is hoped, the registry will include the names of all people in the area who have ever had breast cancer and provide information on their medical histories.

It will also gather more comprehensive data on minorities, especially African-Americans, who are traditionally underrepresented in registries and health studies. Although the incidence of breast cancer among African-Americans is lower than for Caucasians, mortality rates are higher.

The Breast Cancer Registry, however, is not a clinical trial. It will not identify patients for treatment or for new drug testing.

"All we want is words," emphasizes the registry's director, Susan Pinney, PhD. "This is the first time information like this has been gathered in our community, and it's absolutely crucial to the ultimate prevention of breast cancer."

Dr. Pinney, associate professor of environmental health at UC, emphasizes that all information provided to the registry will be kept confidential in a secure computer.

The data will help identify environmental toxins, diet and other lifestyle factors involved in breast cancer, information that will be used in planning health education, public policy and research programs.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S., and the incidence has steadily increased over the last 25 years. It's estimated that 215,990 women will be diagnosed with the disease in 2004.

For more information on the Breast Cancer Registry and how to participate, call 558-0854 or e-mail Information packets are also available from selected physicians' offices, mammography sites, breast cancer support groups and community events.

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