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Etiology and prevention

Finding the underlying environmental and biological causes of breast cancer.

What environmental and biological factors interact to increase the risk of developing breast cancer? What approaches can be used to reduce or eliminate breast cancer risk?

We especially encourage new California-based studies that seek an understanding of the environmental and lifestyle causes of breast cancer, and how these factors increase risk and impact different California communities. Specific topics for research in this area might include:

Etiology: The role of environment and lifestyle — We encourage studies on breast cancer initiation that may be due to environmental exposures that subject women to agents that they, as individuals, cannot control. Other key topics of interest include breast cancer causes related to lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise) and the underlying metabolic, hormonal and environmental interactions. Studies on causative gene-environment interactions specific to breast cancer, especially those having the potential to lead to prevention strategies, are encouraged.

Prevention and risk reduction: Ending the danger of breast cancer — Research exploring methods to prevent breast cancer or reduce risk, including elimination of external causative factors and the identification of surrogate markers for use in prevention trials are encouraged. Examples include nutritional factors, xenoestrogens, exercise, studies of genetic variation and methods to modify known breast cancer genes and risk factors.

Basic science research (e.g., using molecular, cell and animal models) on the genetic, mechanistic causes of breast cancer (e.g., p53 and BRCA genes) should be submitted under the Biology of the Breast Cell topic.