Thousands Of Women Are Donating Healthy Tissue For Breast Cancer Research

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A question for women; would you ever consider donating tissue from your healthy breast?

That’s what women are being asked to do to help breast cancer research.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained that there is something you can do to help find a cure.

Thousands of women have already donated breast tissue. It’s for the Susan G Komen Tissue Bank at Indiana University.

(Credit: Indiana University Simon Cancer Center)

It’s a way for healthy women to take an active part in the fight against breast cancer, and you can help tomorrow morning.

“It’s a good thing and right thing to do because I have a daughter, and a friend who died from breast cancer at 30,” Ada Wong said.

That’s what led Wong to have a breast biopsy on a perfectly normal breast, something most women only have when cancer is suspected.

Her tissue ended among samples from 5,000 other women in the world’s first and only healthy breast tissue bank housed at Indiana University’s Simon Cancer Center.

The rationale is that in order to understand what makes breast cancer cells different, you have to compare them to normal breast tissue.

“Breast cancer does not develop overnight. It’s usually about a 10 year run in for most types of breast cancer, so we’re beginning to notice changes that happen way before anything you can imagine feeling in your breast or in a mammogram,” Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo said.

It’s essentially the same as a biopsy for a suspected cancer. After filling out a detailed questionnaire, local anesthesia is given and a needle extracts a couple of grams of breast tissue, about the size of a couple of peas.

Researchers will do extensive biochemical and genetic analysis of the tissue.

“Trying to find bio markers in tissue, but hopefully in blood because that would be a lot easier. That would help us pinpoint an early marker of cancer development,” Dr. Storniolo said.

Especially important are sample from Asian and Hispanic women because their breast tissue and their cancers are different than Caucasian women, another reason Ada donated.

“If I can contribute and I can have something in this world, I would say I can help other people in the future. Even if it’s a little small piece of tissue, I hope from this little tissue they can have enough for something and maybe help other people,” Wong said.

If you want to help fight breast cancer you can donate breast tissue on Saturday at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You must register by midnight on Friday.

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