Groundbreaking Health of Women Study

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The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, today officially launch the Health of Women Study (HOW), a long-term cohort study tracking the health of women via online and mobile platforms.  This new model for 21st century research was designed to facilitate finding the root causes of breast cancer, leading to prevention.  Any woman over 18 years old, as well as interested men can join this revolutionary effort.  HOW will study women who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as those who have, in order to investigate its cause and new risk factors for the disease.

"The majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known clinical risk factors for the disease," said Susan Love, MD, president and founder of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.  "What that means is that we know very little about the conditions that allow the disease to flourish.  We have made strides in how we treat breast cancer, but we still don't know how to prevent this disease.  We believe a completely new kind of study that traces both healthy women and breast cancer patients and survivors, and directly involves them as participants will give us the data we need to find the cause and develop prevention.  It's time to shift some of our focus to preventing it altogether."

"Cohort studies are the most valuable form of study in epidemiology, but they are extremely costly and very difficult to manage," said Leslie Bernstein, PhD, Professor and Director, Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population Sciences, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.  "This new effort uses technology that is economical and permits us to capture behavior and lifestyle changes that impact women's risk of cancer in real time."

The governing structure will include participants of the study, as well as expert epidemiologists, statisticians and clinical researchers.  The HOW Study enables researchers to pose questions rapidly, using a large sample population.  The online and mobile platform will make it possible to capture more relevant data than has been feasible before, and will empower consumers to become actively engaged in research.  The interactive nature of the study will facilitate study participants posing questions based on their concerns, so that everyone can play a tangible role in working to end breast cancer.

"The important data collected as a part of HOW will be shared with researchers who can use it – a practice virtually unheard of in the research community," said Love.  The data will also be shared with the participants, who are considered major stakeholders in the study.  In 2008 the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation introduced the Love/Avon Army of Women with the goal of recruiting one million women to sign up and participate directly with breast cancer research studies looking into causes and prevention of the disease.  Today the Army of Women has nearly 370,000 women who are ready and willing to participate in research studies.  The Army of Women matches volunteers with researchers to facilitate and fast-track important research.  To date, more than 78,600 members have participated in the research process, and 66 research studies (45 of which are now closed) have been populated with volunteers from the Army of Women.  The first group invited to join HOW was the Army of Women, and they have already kicked off the study with great numbers and enthusiasm.

Outreach will also be achieved through media relations targeting news, health, wellness and women's publications, as well as a social media campaign through Twitter and Facebook channels and a robust blogger network. In a unique and high-impact partnership during the month of October, Boingo Wireless will help raise awareness and encourage sign-up for HOW via Wi-Fi networks at select, high traffic US airports including Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Houston Intercontinental Airport, and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

For details, visit healthofwomenstudy.org