News at A Glimmer of Hope

2/19/09

DONATION OF $100,000 TO MAGEE-WOMENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE WILL SUPPORT PREMENOPAUSAL BREAST CANCER RESEARCH

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 19 – Officials from Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation will accept a check for $100,000 from A Glimmer of Hope in support of premenopausal breast cancer research. Diana Napper, A Glimmer of Hope president, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller and his wife Katie,
and former Steelers offensive lineman Alan Faneca and his wife Julie will present the donation at 10:00 a.m., Monday, Mar. 23 in the 1st Floor Conference Center at Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI), 204
Craft Ave.

“On behalf of the board of directors at Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation, we are so very thankful to Diana Napper, Heath and Katie Miller, and to Alan and Julie Faneca for their longstanding and steadfast support of the very exciting and cutting-edge premenopausal breast cancer research being conducted at MWRI,” said Margaret Joy, chair of Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation. “This type of breast cancer research focusing on premenopausal women is unique and is dependent upon the financial support of our community, and of everyone who has a mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister or female friend.”

“A Glimmer of Hope is a fantastic organization that is currently funding the largest premenopausal study on breast cancer in the United States,” said Paniti Sukumvanich, M.D., assistant professor of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences in the division of gynecologic oncology at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. “To my knowledge, it’s the only study of its kind being conducted presently. A Glimmer of Hope has been very generous and devoted to this cause, and I am very grateful that Magee has been able to collaborate with them on this project.”

Currently, there are more than 250,000 women under 40 years old living with breast cancer. This cohort of women is more likely to die from the disease compared to older women and little is known in regards to the reproductive potential of these patients. After one year, many discoveries have stemmed from Dr. Sukumvanich’s multi-center study focusing on premenopausal women with breast cancer. The following are a few findings.

First, breast cancer during pregnancy may be a risk factor for testing positive for the BRCA mutation, which may predispose them to getting breast cancer. Also, patients diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy appear to have a very high risk of recurrence, 40 percent, if treated with a lumpectomy
and radiation. This risk is four times higher than a non-pregnant patient treated the same way. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy can have very aggressive tumors. In fact, in up to two thirds of patients with breast cancer tumors less than 2 cm in size, the cancer spread to the lymph nodes.

In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and Magee-Womens Hospital, MWRI is involved in basic and clinical investigations to target the underlying causes of breast cancer, as well as the psychosocial and behavioral impact of the disease. Magee and UPCI have joined to create one of the largest comprehensive breast cancer programs in the United States, performing more than 95,000 breast imaging procedures and treating 1,000 new breast cancer patients annually.

Established in 1992, MWRI was one of the first research centers to focus specifically on women and infants’ health conditions. Today, the Institute is committed to advancing knowledge in the field of reproductive biology and medicine, translating scientific discoveries into the improved health of women and their infants, and training future reproductive medicine scholars. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.mwrif.org/.

A Glimmer of Hope is a Pennsylvania non-profit organization that has been supporting breast cancer research since 1994. The organization has raised over $1,000,000 to further fund the largest premenopausal breast cancer study in the United States. For more information, please visit their website at
www.symbolofthecure.com.