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Breast Cancer Research In KELOLAND

October 8, 2009, 6:09 PM by Kelli Grant

Breast Cancer Research In KELOLAND
After a man reaches a certain age, his blood is drawn to help doctors detect prostate cancer. The same step may soon be available for women to spot breast cancer.

Breast Cancer researcher and survivor, Dr. Kristi Egland, has begun breakthrough research. Can a blood test spot breast cancer before a mammogram? It's a question you can help her answer.

During a chemotherapy treatment in the fight against her own breast cancer, Egland wondered if a simple blood draw could detect the disease in time to save a woman's life.

Thanks to a $450,000 grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Egland has turned that idea into research.

"The test we're developing is actually based on the immune system. So instead of looking for cancer proteins, we're looking for antibodies that the body makes against cancer proteins," Egland said. 

She hopes to recruit hundreds of women through the Sanford Clinic Breast Health Institute.

"We need to get 300 women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer before they've had surgery or any types of treatment, chemotherapy or radiation therapy," Egland said.

She's also looking for 300 women who've had a negative mammogram in the last six months. It's research that is minimally invasive.

"Since I myself am a breast cancer survivor, I set the study up so we'd have the least number of needle pricks possible. And actually I got it down to zero, believe it or not," Egland said.

Participants will have their blood drawn during a routine IV procedure. Women with a negative mammogram only need to give blood once.

Donna Hardie and Ronda Hinsch both had negative mammograms this summer and because they've been touched personally by the disease, they didn't hesitate to get involved in the study.

"To see what they do and what they go through every day, the least I can do is have a blood draw," Hardie said.

They're encouraging women of all ages to get involved.

"They need to participate.  They need to be aware because sometime in their life, this could happen to them," Hinsch said.

"It would make detecting breast cancer more sensitive. We can detect it at a much earlier stage, even before mammography and really the cure to breast cancer is early detection," Egland said.

Women who receive a negative mammogram will get a flyer in the mail along with their results. Sanford Clinic Surgical Associates is helping to recruit women who are newly diagnosed.

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