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Army of Women

Passing this along in toto from [personal profile] sherrold, because I think it's really valuable and pretty damn cool. There isn't a lot of stuff that's dedicated to prevention and understanding of breast cancers (or what my mom and sister died from, ovarian cancer), and too much focus on this nebulous notion of a "cure" -- a very long-winded rant I have but it's best not to get me started on -- but I like this idea that it involves women actively and isn't trying to get money for high overhead costs. I'm signing up, for sure. What helps breast cancer will also help other female cancers, something I consider extremely important.

I just learned about the Army of Women, a project of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, funded by the Avon Foundation, to help recruit both healthy women and women with breast cancer for research studies that aim to learn more about how to prevent or curtail the disease, or how to ease survivors' post-treatment symptoms. (Men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or who have close relatives with breast cancer can also sign up.)

Here's the deal. You sign up on their website (www.armyofwomen.org). All they need is your name, contact information, and age. Then you'll receive occasional emails about studies that are recruiting volunteers to participate. Participation in the studies is free -- and each message will list the criteria for eligibility (might be age, whether or not you've had cancer, where you live, that sort of thing). Some studies just ask you to complete a questionnaire; others require blood samples or breast tissue samples; a couple of the current studies involve sleep studies; each one is different. If you want to participate, you log in to the website and click Sign Me Up - they'll talk to you to make sure you really are a good match for the study, and then they'll connect you with the researchers.

You may never see a study that works for you, but even if that's the case, you may be able to pass the word on to someone who does match the criteria. And some of these studies may be the ones that lead to real progress in ending breast cancer and in improving quality of life for those who have or have had it. I think it's an amazing project. They're aiming for one million women, and it's already got close to 350,000 people participating.

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