October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 268,600 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 42,000 will die of the disease in 2019.

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 2020-21.

Grants and Awards

The AACR offered many grants and awards in the area of breast cancer research in 2019, including:

AACR Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Justyna E. Kanska, PhD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Emily A. Teslow, Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University

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

  • Casey D. Stefanski, MS, University of Notre Dame

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

  • Eileen J. Brantley, PhD, Loma Linda University Health
  • Jonine Figueroa, PhD, MPH, University of Edinburgh (Scotland)

 AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award

  • Heather K. Beasley, MS, Meharry Medical College
  • Lee D. Gibbs, PhD, University of Southern California
  • Ciera S. Singleton, MS, LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans
  • Sherona R. Sirkisoon, MS, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Jeronay A. Thomas, MS, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Grace E. Velez, Universidad Central del Caribe (Puerto Rico)
  • Demond Williams, Vanderbilt University

AACR-Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scholar-in-Training Awards

  • Rania Bassiouni, PhD, University of Southern California
  • Golnaz Morad, DDS, Harvard University
  • Jingkun Qu, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Tanmoy Saha, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Abhishek Tyagi, PhD, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

AACR-Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scholar-in-Training Awards in Memory of Dr. Arti Hurria

  • Alamelu G. Bharadwaj, PhD, Dalhousie University
  • Ivy Xiaoyu Chen, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Gloria V. Echeverria, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

AACR-Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Cheng Chen, MS, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

AACR-Club R-K Scholar-in-Training Award in Support of Breast Cancer Research

  • Parichoy Pal Choudhury, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University

AACR-MEG Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Audrey Y. Jung, PhD, German Cancer Research Center

Global Scholar-in-Training Award

  • Titilope M. Dokunmu, PhD, Covenant University (Nigeria)

AACR Women in Cancer Research Scholard Award 

  • Alice Fletcher, PhD, University of Birmingham (England)

AACR Undergraduate Scholar Awards 

  • Laura E. Goo, University of Michigan
  • Eric C. Olsen, Brigham Young University


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