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- Why Research
We invest in research that's changing how we think about cancer. For every dollar spent, 91 cents is committed to tackling this disease. That means more answers, faster breakthroughs and treatment personalized for every patient. With more than half a billion dollars raised to date, that's progress.
Breast cancer is a complex disease with no simple solution, which is why our researchers are tackling it from every angle. Learn about our areas of focus and why each is critical to knowing how to fight cancer from the start, slow its progress and one day stop it from occurring altogether.
Understanding the basic biology of breast cancer is allowing us to get to the very core of the disease. Every aspect, from a cancer cell’s genes to the tumor’s environment, is under investigation. Our researchers are exploring the molecules that make up a cancer cell, how and why it transitions from normal to abnormal and why tumors react differently to different treatments. Their efforts are giving us the knowledge to achieve both prevention and a cure.
Most people who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease, but we know that’s not always the case. A person’s family history, inheritance, race and ethnicity are all important risk factors that have long been part of our research agenda. Our scientists have been behind major breakthroughs in this area, including the role BRCA1 and BRCA2 play in breast cancer and the genetic link to more aggressive breast cancers in women of African descent.
Whether understanding the mutated genes passed down from one generation to the next or developing low-cost genetic testing for diverse populations of women around the world, the more progress our researchers make, the better doctors are able to predict who is at risk and what can be done to prevent cancer’s onset.
A world free of breast cancer includes preventing the disease from occurring in the first place. While some factors are out of our control, like age or gender, we have uncovered a number of ways people may be able to reduce their risk.
Our researchers have demonstrated that maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active and avoiding stress can profoundly influence prognosis and incidence. These important advances are helping to empower women and men to take command of their lives and minimize their chances of developing the disease.
Every cancer is as unique as each patient. Thanks to research, we now know that no two cancers are the same and have evolved from a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment to tailored therapies and more effective drugs. With more personalized treatment comes improved outcomes.
Our researchers know that a treatment’s benefits, as well as its risks, differ for each person. The type of breast cancer, the stage of the disease and the characteristics of the tumor, along with one’s lifestyle and medical history, are all taken into consideration. Our aim? To find the least invasive, most effective option that will minimize adverse effects while maximizing success for each patient. We like to call this “outsmarting cancer.”
There are more breast cancer survivors today than ever before. We know the last round of treatment, however, doesn’t mark the end of one’s journey with the disease. Breast cancer changes a person’s life in many ways.
Women and men can face a multitude of physical, mental and emotional challenges, ranging from pain and fatigue to cognitive and sleeping issues, making quality of life after treatment all the more important to our researchers. Today, with nearly three million survivors in the U.S. alone, not only is the definition of breast cancer changing but also what it means to manage the disease.
If detected early, breast cancer can be controlled. It’s when the disease spreads, or metastasizes, that it often turns lethal. Metastatic cancer cells can lie dormant for years, even decades, only to “wake up” and find their way into different parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, brain or bones. For those patients whose cancer metastasizes, there has been little hope for long-term survival. There’s nothing more important than stopping cancer in its tracks. We have committed $27 million to tackling metastasis through a multi-year, multi-institutional international collaboration. The first of its kind, the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund will enable researchers to understand why some breast cancers spread faster than others and why some respond to certain therapies while other don’t. At the program’s center are major studies of the molecules that go awry in cancer cells to help us understand what makes the disease tick and how we can develop...
Our research has impacted millions of women and men worldwide. With your help, we have raised more than half a billion dollars to accelerate advances and transform how we tackle breast cancer today. Explore some of the progress you have made possible.