Monday, November 15, 2010

Join the Army of Women

By Deb Kirkland, RN, BSN, MPH
Nurse Navigator, Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Center at Northwest Hospital

October marked the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), when First Lady Betty Ford courageously spoke openly about her breast cancer. Before this time, there was no awareness or pink ribbon, breast cancer was never spoken of publicly, even as prevalent as it was then. Last month was also the two-year anniversary of another milestone in the history of breast cancer - the anniversary of Dr. Susan Love launching the Army of Women revolution on the TODAY show.

Earlier in the month, I attended a national leadership summit on CER Priorities, Methods and Policy, held by the Center for Medical Technology Policy. Dr. Love was one of the many dynamic speakers at this summit. As a young breast cancer survivor and advocate, it was a delightful and empowering experience to hear Dr. Love speak regarding her breast cancer efforts through the Army of Women. In the above picture are Dr. Love, Sharon Green, the chair of the Northwest Hospital Breast Care Center Patient Advisory Committee, and me.

Since the launch of Army of Women, 343,997 women have joined this force in the fight against breast cancer. This innovative revolution is a collaborative effort with researchers; to date Army of Women has collaborated with scientists in getting women enrolled in 37 studies with 44,000 of those women participating. The majority of these studies complete their enrollment within a week, which is typically unheard of. Army of Women is making history by changing the way research is conducted globally. Today, we have advancements in research for more effective diagnostics and treatments, yet we still have no cure. The Army of Women is moving beyond the cure and looking at prevention research, by focusing on the cause of breast cancer.

The Love/Avon Army of Women has the goal of recruiting one million women, including breast cancer survivors and women of high-risk for breast cancer, and to challenge the scientific community in expanding its current aim to include breast cancer prevention conducted on healthy women. The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation has the mission of “working to eradicate breast cancer and improve the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education, and advocacy. The Foundation works to identify the barriers to research and to then create new solutions.”

As outlined on the Army of Women site, the following people are eligible to join:
• All women, anywhere in the world, who are over age 18 are welcome to join the Army, whether you have had breast cancer or not.
• Men get breast cancer, too and are also encouraged to join the Army.
• There is no cost to you.
• You are not required to notify your health care providers or insurers. Your insurer does not need to approve your participation, nor will they be given information about findings from the studies in which you participate.
• All researchers who recruit from the Army of Women agree to follow the strict confidentiality guidelines enforced nationwide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Join the Army of Women today by clicking here. Please share this opportunity with friends, family members, and co-workers so we can all unite together. Remember, “prevention is the best medicine." Help Dr. Love and the Army of Women in learning more to prevent and ultimately eliminate breast cancer. The goal is to recruit 1,000,000 women (and men)!

To learn more about the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

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