The Love/Avon Army of Women is an opportunity for women to be a part of breast cancer research studies aimed at determining the causes of breast cancer – and how to prevent it. The Army of Women is a groundbreaking initiative that connects breast cancer researchers with real women who are willing to participate in wide variety of research studies. All women are encouraged to join the Army of Women, including breast cancer survivors and those who have never had breast cancer. The goal of the Army of Women is to recruit one million women of all ages and ethnicities. The Army of Women was launched in October of 2008 and over 358,000 women have joined with close to 50,000 participating in 52 breast cancer studies.
Since declaring “war on cancer” more than 40 years ago, the scientific community has made great strides in some areas. However, the number of women diagnosed with and dying from breast cancer is virtually the same as it was in 1969. Currently, the vast majority of resources for research are focused on early detection and treatment of breast cancer. More resources need to be spent on determining the cause of breast cancer, which isn’t just going to take more research – it’s going to take a different type of research. Studying mice and rats isn’t enough. Mice and rates do not get breast cancer. More studies must be done with actual women. The Army of Women is jumpstarting this type of research providing quick access to a diverse group of women for various studies.
Any women interested in joining the Army of Women can register at www.armyofwomen.org by providing some basic information including, name, age, city and state of residence. Army of Women members will receive email updates announcing new research studies along with a brief description. Members who fit the criteria and are interested in participating simply reply to the email. Participation in studies is not mandatory. Army of Women members make the decision to take part in studies. There are many different types of studies. Some may require the completion of a questionnaire, while others may require blood, urine, saliva, breast fluid or breast tissue. Since launching, the response from women volunteers willing to participate in studies is overwhelming. Researchers have been able to recruit volunteers in hours or days rather than months or years it typically takes.
Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF) launched the Love/Avon Army of Women in October 2008 thanks to a generous grant from the Avon Foundation for Women. The mission of DSLRF is to eradicate breast cancer and improve the quality of women’s health through innovate research, education and advocacy. Dr Susan Love is known world-wide as one of the founding mothers of breast cancer advocacy and sits on the boards of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and the Medical Advisory Board of Young Survival Coalition. She is a clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. For more information: www.dslrf.org.