October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 266,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and some 40,000 will die of the disease in 2018.

Breast cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer in women in the United States, accounting for 15 percent of all new cases. And it is second to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in American women.

There are a number of different types of breast cancer. The most common form of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts. Cancer that begins in the lobes or lobules is called lobular carcinoma and is more often found in both breasts than are other types of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer in which the breast is warm, red, and swollen.

Being female and older in age are the main risk factors for breast cancer. Other risk factors include estrogen (made in the body), dense breast tissue, age at menstruation and first birth, taking hormones for symptoms of menopause, smoking, obesity, and not getting enough exercise.

Hereditary breast cancer makes up 5 percent to 10 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses. Women who have certain gene mutations, such as mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, have an increased risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Men can also develop breast cancer, making up slightly less than 1 percent of those diagnosed each year. Radiation exposure, high levels of estrogen, and a family history of breast cancer can increase a man’s risk of the disease.

What is the AACR Doing in this Area?

Breast Cancer-Focused Conferences

The AACR sponsors two large-scale scientific conferences in the area of breast cancer research. The AACR Special Conference on Advances in Breast Cancer Research addresses basic and translational breast cancer research, topics that are not typically covered in other breast cancer conferences with a more clinical agenda. Additionally, the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is presented by the AACR, the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at UT Health Science Center San Antonio, and the Baylor College of Medicine.  Future conferences on the topic of breast cancer are being planned for 2019-21.

Grants and Awards

The AACR offers many grants and awards in the area of breast cancer research.

Since 2006, the AACR has partnered with the BCRF to offer a series of research grants. In 2018 the Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research was awarded to Camila dos Santos, PhD, of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for her study, "Probing the immune system to prevent breast cancer development."

The AACR Distinguished Lectureship for Extraordinary Scientific Achievement in Breast Cancer Research recognizes an outstanding scientist whose work has inspired or has the potential to inspire new perspectives on breast cancer. The 2018 Award recipient was C. Kent Osborne, MD, director of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

The 2018 Class of Fellows of the the AACR Academy included two researchers whose outstanding contributions to cancer research focus on breast cancer-related topics. These new members are René Bernards, DPhil, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute, and Arthur D. Levinson, PhD, of Calico Life Sciences, LLC.

The 2018 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research, supported by Piramal Pharma Solutions, was awarded to John A. Katzenellenbogen, PhD, Swanlund Professor of Chemistry, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for his achievements in breast cancer research.

In addition to these awards, the AACR granted numerous scholar-in-training awards to deserving young investigators whose studies focus on breast cancer in 2018. The awardees include:

AACR Scholar-in-Training Awards

  • Mustafa M. Basree, Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Roman Camarda, University of California San Francisco
  • Merit L. Goodman, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Robert Gueth, PhD, New Mexico State University
  • Nethaji Muniraj, PhD, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Mellissa J. Nixon, PhD, Vanderbilt University
  • Evanthia T. Roussos Torres, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
  • Madhav Sankunny, PhD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation


AACR-June L. Biedler Scholar-in-Training Awards

  • Gloria V. Echeverria, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Kamrul Hasan, PhD, Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego
  • Leila Kokabee, PhD, The State University of New York at Albany
  • Liqian Ma, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Jennifer M. Rosenbluth, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School
  • Brandi P. Smith, MS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Katie A. Thies, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina
  • Lisa Welter, MS, University of Southern California

AACR-Pezcoller Foundation Scholar-in-Training Awards

  • Ilirjana Bajrami, PhD, The Institute of Cancer Research
  • Lindy L. Visser, MS, Netherlands Cancer Institute


AACR-SIC Scholar-in-Training Awards

  • Montserrat Climent Salarich, PhD, Italian Institute of Technology


AACR Minority and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholars in Cancer Research

  • Jayanta K. Das, PhD, Florida International University
  • Yoannis Imbert-Fernandez, PhD, University of Louisville
  • Humberto Parada, PhD, San Diego State University
  • Meghana V. Trivedi, PhD, University of Houston


2018 AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards

  • Oluwole A. Babatunde, MBBS, University of South Carolina
  • Maria S. Dixon, PhD, North Carolina Central University
  • Angela M. Jarrett, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Jeronay A. King, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Mike Oliphant, MS, University of Colorado Denver
  • Yainyrette Rivera Rivera, PhD, Ponce Research Institute
  • Serena C. Houghton, PhD,  University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Utthara Nayar, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


AACR Undergraduate Scholar Awards 

  • Laura E. Goo, University of Michigan


Last year the AACR provided over $64 million in grants and awards funding lifesaving cancer research. There are many ways you can support our mission to prevent and cure all cancers. Take Action

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization with offices at 615 Chestnut Street, 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | 215.440.9300