E-News September 2016

Dear Members,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for helping fast-track cancer research by being a member of Register4. If you know anyone who might like to join you can visit our Invite a Friend page to send them an invitation. We hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter.


Australian study shows how breast cancer risk prediction models can be improved by 30%

Breast cancer risk prediction models are used to estimate the chance that women will develop the disease. The models can help women and health professionals make decisions about screening and prevention.

Current models use risk factors that have been known for a long time, such as family history and number of children, to generate a risk score. Researchers wanted to find out how much the models could be improved if they included genetic information.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are small changes in the DNA code. They are common and are normal part of everyone's DNA. Some SNPs determine differences in our appearance such as hair colour while some have no observable effect. Other SNPs can give information about the risk of different diseases, including breast cancer.

A single SNP associated with increased breast cancer risk can't tell much, but when you consider the combined effect of many SNPs, things start to get interesting.

To date, at least 77 SNPs have been found to be associated with breast cancer. Researchers have now included a risk score based on these with information from the Australian Breast Cancer Family Registry about other risk factors typically used in risk prediction models.

By combining the latest advancements in genetics with the well-established risk prediction models currently in use the researchers could see if the ability of these models to predict breast cancer risk improved.

The results look promising, suggesting that we are now 30% better able to predict which women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50 years based on both their cancer family history going back several generations and the 77 SNPs.


Using wearable technology to get breast cancer survivors active

Physical activity can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, prevent other chronic diseases and reduce psychosocial stress. Despite these benefits, breast cancer survivors (like most of us!) often struggle to incorporate regular physical activity into their lives. This struggle has driven researchers to find innovative strategies to help women with breast cancer to get active.

Cancer Council Victoria's Dr Brigid Lynch believes that the rise of wearable technology, such as Apple watches, Fitbits and Garmin devices, may hold the answer.

'Wearables allow users to easily self-monitor their physical activity behaviour. These devices log a range of metrics related to activity and health, including step count, non-move time and sleep. Wearables provide real-time feedback, which helps to motivate individuals to improve their efforts to achieve their activity goals,' says Dr Lynch.

Consumer uptake of wearable technologies has been remarkable. But while this multi-billion dollar industry has excited many health experts, it has generated scepticism in others.

'There is great potential to harness wearables to facilitate improvements in health behaviours. These devices are relatively inexpensive, and can be used almost anywhere. However, we just don't know whether wearables can create lasting behavioural change,' says Dr Lynch.

That’s where the ACTIVATE trial comes in. Dr Lynch will test whether using wearables can increase physical activity and reduce the amount of time spent sitting by women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer. This information will help inform if and how healthcare professionals recommend their use to cancer survivors.

The ACTIVATE Trial is currently recruiting women who have been diagnosed with stage I to III post-menopausal breast cancer, completed their primary treatment and can visit Cancer Council Victoria (615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne) on one occasion. All participants will keep the Garmin Vivofit2® device at the conclusion of the trial.

Click ACTIVATE to find out more.


Meet Fiona - a Register4 member and cancer survivor

Fiona was kind enough to tell us about her health, life and her 'man' Kevin.

I was born in the UK in 1953 and had my first intravenous pyelogram (IVP) at four and first operation at nine in an army hospital in Cyprus to fix a kidney problem. After marrying in the UK in 1972, we migrated to Australia but moved back to the UK briefly for work where I gave birth to my daughter in 1974.

In 1975, I had an operation to reimplant both left and right ureters to prevent damage to my kidneys. This gave me 20 years of reasonable health; however toward the end of 1995, my kidney function fell dramatically and I was placed on dialysis in July 1996. I was blessed to receive a wonderful transplant in January 1997. I named my kidney Kevin. I knew the donor was a young man and that his generosity had blessed at least another seven people.

In September 2004, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and received chemotherapy over the next three months. In January 2005, I was diagnosed with a secondary cancer to my brain at four sites, the most problematic one being my frontal lobe affecting short-term memory. I received radiotherapy to all four sites over a two week period ending in March.

I am now 11 years cancer free. Kevin came through the treatment with flying colours, and I am so enormously grateful to my loved ones, my doctors, my nurses and the hospital staff for caring, sharing and just simply being there.

It seems that almost every day now we hear about new research and technology that has enormous potential to fight and perhaps to cure all forms of cancer. I have been involved with Register 4 and know that this particular forum can, and does, make a huge difference.


If you would like to share your story with the Register4 community please email us at info@register4.org.au. We'd love to hear from you.


From the Register4 Team

Have your details changed? Update them here.

If you would like to contact us, you can reach us at info@register4.org.au or phone 1300 709 485. Thanks for taking an active role in cancer research.

Best Wishes,

The Register4 Team


10 Barrack St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 1300 709 485 | Email: info@register4.org.au
Privacy Policy | Visit Our Website | Unsubscribe