TORONTO, June 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Mr. Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament
for Barrie joined Ms. Sandra Palmaro, Co-CEO of the Canadian Breast
Cancer Foundation, and Dr. Stephen Robbins, Scientific Director of the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Cancer Research
to announce a $5.7 million investment to support a pan-Canadian
research team investigating breast cancer in young women.
The program, led by Dr. Steven Narod, Senior Scientist and Director,
Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit, Women's College Research
Institute and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer, of Women's
College Hospital in Toronto, is entitled "Towards better outcomes for
young women with breast cancer: A Pan-Canadian Collaborative," and
includes four sub-projects for a total team of 62 researchers and
clinicians at 44 institutions and clinics across Canada. The research
aims to better understand the unique biology of breast cancer in women
under 40 and its implications for prevention, risk reduction, and
delivering care that addresses their distinct needs.
The program brings together Canada's best minds in breast cancer
research to address gaps not currently served by traditional operating
grants or other existing funding mechanisms. This national network of
breast cancer researchers will establish a Canadian Young Breast Cancer
Cohort comprised of 1,200 newly-diagnosed young women with all stages
of breast cancer from 28 sites across Canada. The Cohort will provide
personal, lifestyle, and treatment information, as well as blood and
tumour samples to address a range of research questions. The team will
also assemble a retrospective database of 3,000 women who have
previously been diagnosed with breast cancer when they were under the
age of 40 in order to assess longer term outcomes related to recurrence
The team was funded through the joint CBCF-CIHR Breast Cancer in Young
Women Research Program - an initiative to improve the clinical outcomes
and quality of life for young women with breast cancer. The research
proposed could lead to significant changes in clinical practice and
policy, as well as information to enable women to make more informed
decisions about their lives during and after breast cancer.
Breast cancer incidence increases with age and is primarily a disease of
postmenopausal women. It is the most common cancer among Canadian women
(excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and is the second leading cause
of death from cancer.
Despite the fact that breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths
in women 20 to 40 years of age, little research has been done
specifically on breast cancer in younger women and early onset sporadic
breast cancer is poorly understood. It is estimated that 24,400 women
will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, of which 4% of new
breast cancer cases diagnosed will be under the age of 40.
Breast cancer in young women tends to be more advanced at the time of
diagnosis and also more aggressive and resistant to treatment.
Prognosis is therefore generally worse for this group than for older
The Breast Cancer in Young Women National Research Program - a
partnership between the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) - Institute of Cancer
Research (ICR) was designed to facilitate progress in this research area towards
improving the clinical outcomes and quality of life of young women with
breast cancer. This Program brings together a number of independently
fundable, synergistic sub-projects, into a single integrated program
spanning the multiple disciplines of breast cancer research to support
a holistic, "whole woman" approach.
This funding is one of the largest amounts ever granted in Canada to the
study of breast cancer in young women and the program is among the
largest ever undertaken in this area.
"Far too many women have lost their lives to breast cancer. Continued
investment in research, especially in the areas of screening and early
detection, will reduce the incidence of breast cancer and save the
lives of many Canadians".
- Mr. Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament for Barrie
"We are very pleased to see our donor dollars go further through this
partnership with CIHR. We believe that this investment will make a
meaningful difference in addressing the unique challenges that young
women with breast cancer face. With a research investment of this size
and scope, being led by some of the brightest research minds across the
country, our hope is that young women diagnosed with breast cancer in
the coming years will have improved outcomes and a better quality of
- Ms. Sandra Palmaro, Co-CEO, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
"I am excited to join our partners at CBCF to make this important
announcement today. The research that is being supported will create
the knowledge to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of
this devastating disease, and help address the needs of survivors and
the terminally ill. I am confident that these research efforts will
result in real improvements for the young women who will face this
- Dr. Stephen Robbins, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute of
Health Research - Institute of Cancer Research
"Breast cancer in this age group tends to be more advanced at the time
of diagnosis, more aggressive and more resistant to treatment.
Prognosis is therefore generally worse for women under 40 years than
for older women. That's why this research program is so important."
- Dr. Steven Narod, Senior Scientist and Director, Familial Breast
Cancer Research Unit, Women's College Research Institute and Tier 1
Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer.
"Almost two years ago, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at
the Breast Cancer in Young Women Workshop where this research
competition was conceived. Today, it's a joy to see the outcome of
this competition and I'm excited to see what will come from this
incredible research program. I was 23 years old when I was diagnosed;
I'm proof that there's no age too young for breast cancer to affect
- Ms. Alicia Tait, breast cancer survivor and young woman. Tait, of
Mississauga, Ont., is now 28 years old and the mother of a 4-year-old
girl and 2-year-old boy.
CIHR Institute of Cancer Research
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
About the CIHR
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of
Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create
new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved
health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened
health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR
provides leadership and support to more than 12,600 health researchers
and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is the leading community-driven
organization in Canada dedicated to creating a future without breast
cancer. Its investments in innovative and relevant research and
education have led to progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis,
treatment and care. Since 1986, CBCF has been at the forefront of a
nationwide movement supporting and advocating for the breast cancer
community. For more information, visit www.cbcf.org.
SOURCE: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For further information:
Canadian Institutes of Health Research