How did the Army of Women get started?
Dr. Susan Love, like many members of the breast cancer community, was frustrated by the slow advancements in learning what causes breast cancer and how to prevent it. In order to learn more about the causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer, researchers need to work with volunteers to explore possible solutions. Scientists, however, told Dr. Love that they did not know how to find the women who would be interested in taking part in the studies that were needed to end this disease. Without people to participate in studies, new and innovative research solutions are impossible.
Dr. Love realized that women and men want to help find breast cancer solutions and are willing to participate in studies—they just didn’t know that they were needed! From this, the idea was born of an Army of Women, ready to serve science.
Is the Army of Women program conducting these studies?
No. All supported studies are conducted by research teams around the country. While we are not conducting these projects, each study goes through an extensive review process with our Army of Women team, our external Scientific Advisory Committee, and each researcher’s Institutional Review Board (IRB.) This process helps ensure that our members only receive the well-designed, scientifically sound studies that passed all three reviews.
Why do some studies only allow certain breast cancer stages, genders, or ages?
The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation encourages researchers to study men as well as women with breast cancer and all stages of disease whenever possible. This is a consideration that we present to all research teams looking to partner with the Army of Women. Depending on the study, some investigators are able to make changes to broaden their target populations -- other times, they are unable to include this group due to IRB restrictions, safety concerns, or data suggesting this group may not benefit from the intervention. We are committed to push every Army of Women supported researcher to expand their breast cancer research to include every possible population.
Why did the Avon Foundation for Women provide seed funding for this initiative?
The Avon Foundation for Women is one of the largest private funders of breast cancer research. As a result, they understood how difficult it can be for researchers to find volunteers for research studies. They recognized the need for the Army of Women and provided a grant to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation to make it happen.
Why is it called an Army of Women?
Why should I sign up?
Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women® is a revolutionary initiative, connecting women and men of all ages, ethnicities, and locations to researchers committed to solving important breast cancer questions. We encourage anyone interested in breast cancer research to join: We need participants who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, volunteers with no history of breast cancer, and people who are considered ‘high-risk’ to join our Army of Women. Our goal is to forge partnerships between our members and the scientific community. We aim to teach our members about the clinical research process and connect them with innovative research studies.
Breast cancer has been around for decades, but it does not have to be our future. We can be the generation that stops breast cancer once and for all by figuring out what causes this disease and how to prevent it! This is your chance to be part of the research that will end breast cancer.
Can men join the Army of Women?
Can women from outside of the US join the Army of Women?
How does the Army of Women work?
Interested women and men register on the Army of Women website. Signup is easy: members are asked to provide basic information such as name, age, ethnicity, and city of residence.
After you sign up, you will receive email updates from the Army of Women with information on new supported research studies that are looking for volunteers. These emails will detail the research background, study procedures, and eligibility criteria. If you fit the criteria and you’d like to participate, all you need to do is RSVP on the Army of Women website to let us know you are interested. Once we confirm that you are a good fit, your contact information is given to the researcher conducting the study. The researcher will contact you for a secondary screening and answer any questions you might have about study participation.
You will never be pressured to take part in any study. Participation is completely voluntary. The decision to take part is yours alone. If you meet the study criteria as determined by the researcher and are interested in taking part, the study researcher will let you know what you need to do next.
What might a supported study require?
Why do researchers want to study healthy women?
How does the Army of Women help researchers?
How will you make sure that the research applies to all women?
Can women with breast cancer participate?
What exactly will I have to do in a study?
- Complete a questionnaire.
- Donate blood samples.
- Donate saliva.
- Donate urine samples.
- Donate a small sample of breast tissue. This would typically involve having a core needle biopsy done under local anesthesia as an outpatient. Your breast will look exactly the same as it did before the tissue was removed.
- Donate breast fluid. This would be done with a breast pump. You would be asked to massage your breast and squeeze your nipple prior to the pump being placed on your nipple. The procedure usually takes 1-15 minutes per breast.
- Donate breast fluid obtained through ductoscopy and/or ductal lavage. This procedure obtains fluid from the breast by washing out the breast ducts.
- When it comes to medical research, blood, urine, breast fluid and breast tissue are all considered “tissue.” Scientists use this type of tissue for a wide range of medical research studies.