Witherspoon promotes breast cancer awareness

May 11, 2009 5:58:57 PM PDT
Actress Reese Witherspoon came to San Francisco to talk about breast cancer at a center that's making big advances in detecting cancer markers years ahead of time.

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Reese Witherspoon is the honorary chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women. She has been actively involved in raising money for breast cancer research.

"I don't know anyone whose life hasn't been touched by breast cancer. From my very good friend Nancy, to one of the teacher's of my children's school [who] is now dealing with this. I think it's a situation where we're dealing with so many women in our lives [who] are dealing with breast cancer that you can't not do anything," said Witherspoon.

The center opened in 2004 with a goal -- to reach out and care for those women in poor and underserved communities.

Since opening five years ago, the center has performed more than 34,000 mammograms, exams that have dramatically affected the survival rate of these women.

"We've screened twice as many women as we did in the previous five year period. We've produced a lot more early diagnosis and therefore our survival rate has increased," said director Dr. Judith Luce.

Monday's event highlighted some promising research, which shows how genetic markers may help predict tumors years out.

"By learning, reading those cues we are able to predict even before the cancer is formed," said Thea Tisty Ph.D. from UCSF Department of Pathology.

Reseacher Dr. Susan Love is helping recruit women online for research studies. It's called armyofwomen.org.

"Our goal is for the studies to be looking at what causes breast cancer and how can we prevent it," said Dr. Love.

This is good news for breast cancer survivor Eloise Caggiano.

"I want to be in a place where I don't have to worry about hearing those words, you have cancer again and that none of my friends of family or if I have children one day that they don't have to worry about it either," said Caggiano.

Related Links:

  • Avon Foundation for Women
  • armyofwomen.org

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