Breast Cancer Research

Causes & Treatments

Researching Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatments


Researchers throughout the world are studying the causes of breast cancer and new methods of women's cancer treatment.1 Ongoing studies focus on lifestyle factors and habits, such as diet and exercise, that affect breast cancer risk.1 Other research is exploring how genes influence breast cancer.1 An early yet active area of research focuses on potential causes of breast cancer in the environment.2


Research is underway to study several drugs that may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Other studies focus on new drugs used to treat the disease.2 Among many promising studies, several drugs that strengthen and reduce the risk of fractures in bones weakened by metastatic breast cancer are being tested to determine whether they enhance or hinder other systemic treatments.2


Studies of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is considered non-invasive or pre-invasive, may someday help women with DCIS make treatment decisions. Researchers are studying the use of computers and statistical methods to estimate the odds that a woman's DCIS will become invasive.2,3 In other studies, researchers have found that in many women with breast cancer, cells may break away from the tumor and enter the blood. These circulating tumor cells can be detected with sensitive lab tests. Although these tests can help predict which patients may have their cancer come back, it isn't clear whether using them will help patients live longer. They potentially may be useful in patients with advanced breast cancer to help tell if treatments are working.2


For More Information:
1What's new in breast cancer research?, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/OverviewGuide/breast-cancer-overview-new-research
2What's new in breast cancer research and treatment, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-new-research
3Types of breast cancers, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-breast-cancer-types