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Army of Women FAQ

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Project Title The Milk Study

Researcher Kathleen Arcaro, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA

Study Summary Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are studying the breast cells normally found in breast milk to see if there are any epigenetic differences–which have the potential to be reversed–between women whose biopsies turn out to be healthy and those whose biopsies show a problem, such as cancer. Learning more about these epigenetic differences may eventually help researchers develop a way to provide women with information about their breast cancer risk.

The researchers have already enrolled more than 250 women, but most of the samples have come from Caucasian women. Since breast cancer risk factors differ among ethnic groups, the researchers are particularly interested in enrolling African-American women, Latinas, Asian women, and other ethnic minorities.

Who Can Participate? You can join the Milk Study if you match ALL of these categories:

• You are a breastfeeding mom
• You have had a breast biopsy at any time in the past OR you are going to have a breast biopsy to diagnose a lump in your breast
• You live in the United States

After you RSVP, the research team will ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

What Does Participation Involve? If you sign up for the Milk Study, you will be contacted by the research team to confirm that you are eligible for the study. If you are eligible and decide to join, you will receive a container in the mail containing sterile bottles for milk collection, a consent form, a patient eligibility form, and a questionnaire. You will be asked to complete the consent and eligibility forms and questionnaire, which will ask questions about your breastfeeding history, medical history, and any previous biopsies you may have had. You will be asked to donate two fresh milk samples (one from each breast). You will put the signed consent form, completed patient eligibility form and questionnaire, and breast milk in the box they came in and the box will be picked up by Fed-Ex (at no cost to you).

After the research team receives your breast milk samples, they will contact you to ask if you have had a breast biopsy. If you have had a biopsy, you will be asked to provide a copy of the biopsy report.

Approximately one year after sending your breast milk sample, the research team will contact you to ask about any breast problems you have had in the last year.

The information you provide is confidential and will be kept private.

Where? Anywhere in the United States