News Releases

Tip Sheet: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

SEATTLE – Sept. 17, 2018 – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is committed to reducing breast cancer incidence and death by identifying risk factors for the disease, developing new methods of detecting it and helping to predict health outcomes based on a woman’s genetics and other factors.  

Below are brief summaries of the work our researchers are doing around breast cancer and some high-level points to be aware of in anticipation of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

  • Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S. (about 41,000 deaths are expected in 2018).
  • There are over 3 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. (includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment).

An integrated approach to breast cancer

The idea of using acupuncture, yoga or meditation to help relieve the symptoms of cancer treatment is becoming more widely accepted. A recent Fred Hutch-led study found acupuncture helped reduce joint pain for breast cancer patients.

HEAL breast cancer

The Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) study led by Fred Hutch, tracked how diet, weight, and physical activity affected breast cancer survival.

Getting fit against cancer

Fred Hutch researchers are measuring how exercise can potentially lower the risk of breast cancer.

Using machine learning/natural language processing to identify recurrence

Fred Hutch’s Cancer Surveillance System is undergoing a tech transformation. Traditionally, collecting data to monitor and prevent recurrence has required a significant amount of human and financial resources. Thanks to advances in electronic data and technology, machine learning/natural language processing could help identify breast cancer recurrence through claims, electronic health records, and pathology reports.

Less weight, less risk of recurrence?

Fred Hutch researchers are looking at ways to reduce the risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients. This study is determining whether weight loss in overweight and obese women has a direct impact on recurrence rates.

Immunotherapy for breast cancer

Early clinical trials reveal immunotherapy hasn’t been effective in breast cancer patients compared to other cancer patients, such as those with leukemia. New research from Fred Hutch shows epigenetic reprogramming could help.


At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.




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