Beating Breast Cancer
in Hampton Roads

  • It’s the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. It accounts for 26 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States, and is responsible for 16 percent of cancer deaths. Virginia has the ninth highest breast cancer mortality rate in the nation.
  • White and black women get diagnosed with breast cancer at the same rate.
  • The mortality rate is 42 percent higher for black women.
  • Black women are less likely to be diagnosed early, before their cancer spreads.
  • If diagnosed early, the five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent.

One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime, with more than 4,500 women in Virginia diagnosed with breast cancer each year. And it can strike men, too, who are more likely to get the most aggressive forms.

That’s why the researchers at the EVMS Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center are collaborating with scientists around the country to find ways to predict how patients will respond to therapies and develop more effective ones. Because male or female, black or white, breast cancer affects us all.

Virginia has the 9th highest breast cancer mortality rate.

 

BETTER RESEARCH . BETTER RESULTS.

Chances are, you’ve heard of the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes. Hereditary mutations in these genes can cause aggressive breast and ovarian cancers, but this accounts for only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. And four out of five women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease, which causes it to be more difficult to predict and detect early. However, early detection is key, along with more targeted treatment and prognostic tools. The research being done right now at the EVMS Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center ultimately will help improve all three.

Current projects include: 

  • Studying a gene that plays an important role in cancer progression called SIAH. Current studies include evaluating SIAH as a clinical test for aggressive forms of breast cancer
  • Determining the effectiveness of anti-SIAH therapies in inhibiting the spread of metastatic breast cancer
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of SIAH in predicting the patient response to therapy
  • Evaluating the therapeutic effectiveness of lymph node removal and radiation following neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • Determining breast cancer health disparities in uninsured women through the EVMS Breast Evaluation Program 

Successes include:

  • Discovered a link between tamoxifen, a widely used and effective treatment for breast cancer, and an increased risk of blood clots, opening the door for further research into protecting patients’ health throughout the cancer-treatment process.
  • Discovered that inhibiting the gene SIAH can reduce tumor growth 

REGIONAL RESEARCHERS WITH NATIONAL CREDENTIALS .

At the EVMS Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center, our scientists work closely with area clinicians to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients here in Hampton Roads. In addition, they collaborate with researchers around the country on better diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools.

The distinguished surgeons, pathologists, lab researchers, and radiologists who study breast cancer here have degrees from institutions that include Penn State University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Texas, the University of Pune and Cornell University’s Weill Medical College. Their research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Breast cancer is indiscriminate. It affects so many women in all walks of life — yet if you look at survival rates, there are differences based on race, on education, on socioeconomic status, on insurance. My challenge is to understand why these differences exist. What can we do to minimize them? As the director of our Breast Cancer Ev aluation Program, I’m helping women without medical insurance get evaluated and treated for breast cancer just like their counterparts with medical insurance. Cancer may be indiscriminate, but all women deserve an equal opportunity to fight back.

“Breast cancer is indiscriminate. It affects so many women in all walks of life — yet if you look at survival rates, there are differences based on race, on education, on socioeconomic status, on insurance. My challenge is to understand why these differences exist. What can we do to minimize them? As the director of our Breast Cancer Ev aluation Program, I’m helping women without medical insurance get evaluated and treated for breast cancer just like their counterparts with medical insurance. Cancer may be indiscriminate, but all women deserve an equal opportunity to fight back.“

Eric C. Feliberti, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology
Department of Surgery
Eastern Virginia Medical School

JOIN US IN OUR FIGHT.

It could be you. Or your wife, mother, sister or aunt. It could even be your husband or son. And the older you get, the more likely you are to know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Help them fight back. Support the EVMS Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center. Donations help us build our already vast library of analyzed tissue samples, fund essential research and help purchase tools to help scientists study the role of DNA damage in cancer development. Your support will do more than make a difference; it will save lives. Perhaps even yours.

Please, help us make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.
Visit evms.edu/give_now_canoles_cancer_research or call EVMS Development at 757.965.8500.