One breast cancer research project hopes to find a cure by studying not women with cancer, but their cancer-free sisters.
Since 2004, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' "Sister Study" has recruited more than 30,000 women to take part.
OUT OF OBLIGATION
In Oklahoma, 288 women are enrolled. One is Melody Miner, a ministry secretary in Muldrow whose sister is a breast cancer survivor.
"(I didn't do it) out of guilt at all," Miner said, "but maybe out of obligation " not just to my sister, but women and people everywhere. We all need to take a proactive approach to our health and our general lives, rather than reactive."
FINDING A LINK
As part of the study, enrollees are interviewed over a 10-year period for, according to an NIEHS press release, "things they've been exposed to throughout their lives to determine what may influence breast cancer risk."
"I think it's important to know not only for breast cancer, but any cancer, what might be the cause, whether the link is environmental, genetics or social," Miner said.
REACHING A CURE
Statewide, the Central Oklahoma Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is one of a dozen groups that recruits participants.
"In finding the cure to breast cancer "¦ you have to look at all aspects," said Lorna Palmer, executive director of the affiliate. "It's an interesting study to look at how sisters are affected by environmental causes in the home, are there clues to why one person gets it and the other doesn't, or does this sister have the potential of getting breast cancer." "Rod Lott
More Oklahomans are needed for the study. For more information, call 1-877-4SISTER or visit www.sisterstudy.org.