Breast cancer in nursing mothers

I have spent the past hour filling out forms as part of my participation in a VERY important research study.

Dr. Kathleen Acaro is a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts.  She is studying breast milk to see if there are any DNA clues in breast milk that would show a woman’s risk for cancer.   Breastfeeding helps prevent cancer, but it’s not 100 %.  Meanwhile, many breastfeeding women who find lumps have a long delay in their diagnosis because lactating breasts can hide cancers and because some doctors blame nursing for any and all masses.   Wouldn’t it be amazing if lots of women who meet the criteria could give a breast milk sample now to advance this research so that in the future, moms could get diagnosed super-early, or even have their cancers prevented?

Dr. Acaro is collecting breast milk samples from breastfeeding women who are about to have breast biopsies or who have had a breast biopsy in the past year. 

If you qualify, please email:

slenington@nre.umass.edu  (Dr. Sarah Lenington, Recruitment Coordinator) and tell her that Elizabeth DeHority sent you.  If you know ANYBODY who qualifies, please send them an email about it or link them here.   Also, please tell your OB or midwife.  They would be a great resource to help find moms for this study, too.  If you qualify, they’ll send you forms to fill out and a postage paid fedex box to send them samples, as well as your pathology report when you have one.  In my case, they’re able to use my special stash of frozen milk since I had to wean George when I started chemo.

Thanks!  Elizabeth

3 thoughts on “Breast cancer in nursing mothers

  1. I breast fed my oldest who was born 6 1/2 yrs ago. After about 8 months I found a lump that I thought was a clogged milk duct but I could not get undone. I tried and tried and then finally went to my breast surgeon to have her check it out. I had 2 fibroadenoma breast lumps removed 4-5 years prior. She had me set up an appt for needle biopsy and I just pumped myself dry before hand and she did the procedure. I also pumped myself dry before she did a mammogram and ultrasound. Then after all three of these tests and considering my previous history she felt safe to let me finish nursing and then did a lumpectomy to remove it.

  2. I have three friends who developed sudden and aggressive breast cancers while breastfeeding. I’m glad you are pursuing this topic. I wonder if there’s a viral connection or something. I’m very concerned about this. Thanks for this opportunity!

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