Breast cancer run rasises research funds

By TaylorGleason

For the past 12 years, runners and volunteers from Chicago and surrounding suburbs have come together for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a 5K run that raises money to fund breast cancer education, treatment and prevention. This year’s race is scheduled for Sept. 26.

According to the organization’s website,, 75 percent of the net income from each race in the U.S. goes toward breast cancer screening, education and treatment in the local community, while 25 percent goes toward the Komen for the Cure Award and Research Grant Programs to fund breast cancer conferences and research.

Lauren Brandt, a three-time Race for the Cure participant, knows just how important such research is.

“My mom had a lump a while back, so the year that we [participated in the walk] was memorable,” Brandt said. “It’s especially touching to see those who run in memory of someone.”

A pivotal element in the decrease of breast cancer prevalence is the pairing of education and prevention.

“The progress that has been made in breast cancer [prevention throughout] the years is that indeed the occurrence of breast cancer is lessening,” said Dr. Mary Maryland, Illinois division president of the American Cancer Society.

Maryland said unavoidable factors include being a woman and aging, but she said women can maintain a healthy weight and take care of their bodies to help prevent the occurrence of breast cancer.

Maryland suggests women in their 20s perform a breast self-exam every month. The exam should “typically be done after your menstrual cycle, when breasts are less influenced by the hormones,” she said.

Women in their 20s and 30s may also opt for a clinical breast exam every three years. Women can learn from a health care provider what signs to check for during a breast self-exam.

Money raised from events like Race for the Cure help fund drug trials like Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, as well as genetic research and studies that follow women to see how lifestyles contribute to the risk of developing breast cancer.

Two highly studied drugs among breast cancer researchers are Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, which have been closely studied for their preventative capabilities. The use of drugs to reduce the risk of cancer in healthy people is called chemoprevention, a growing area in the field of breast cancer research.

Tamoxifen and Raloxifene help protect breast cells from growth effects due to the female hormone estrogen. Results of the trial involving nearly 200,000 women, called STAR were released in April 2006. The study extensively compared the two drugs.

Raloxifene was previously used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and Tamoxifen was used for 30 years to treat breast cancer. Tamoxifen was approved in 1998 as a prevention drug. Women who participated in the STAR trial were administered Raloxifene, Tamoxifen or a placebo. They took the pill once a day for five years. The use of both Raloxifene and Tamoxifen showed a 50 percent decrease in the development of invasive breast cancer.

The city of Chicago plans the Race for the Cure route, and for the past three years, runners have covered approximately 10 blocks in Grant Park. This year, a 10K run will be premiered at the Chicago race, creating an additional stretch to the route.

Race for the Cure’s Executive Director in Chicago,  Michael Ziener,  said last year’s race raised more than $1 million and this year, the goal is $1.4 million.

A Race for the Cure event takes place in every state and in 10 countries throughout the world.

The last day to register online is Sept. 20. Find more information at

More information about prevention and how to perform a breast self-exam can be found on the American Cancer Society’s website,