There is no better way to explain the origin of the Army of Women than this old Etta Hulme cartoon.
For reasons probably due to convenience and cost, most research on breast cancer is conducted on mice and rats who don’t naturally develop the disease. The exception: clinical trials on breast cancer treatments. However, these studies don’t necessarily provide insight into the development of the disease.
When I asked my research colleagues why this was, their response was that they did not know how to find women. Well, I knew how!
Most research on breast cancer is conducted on mice and rats who don’t naturally develop the disease.
In response to this need, I founded the Army of Women. This program, which focuses on accelerating breast cancer research in women, launched ten years ago on the Today Show with the support of the Avon Foundation. After all, if we are going to understand how to prevent and treat breast cancer in people, we have to do the research on people!
To this day, the Army of Women remains a free and secure online tool that connects volunteers, both with and without breast cancer, to researchers exploring important questions about the causes, prevention, impact, and treatment of breast cancer. Our network is over 382,000 volunteers strong and growing. Together, we have successfully recruited for over 135 studies and helped over 300 researchers worldwide.
Why has the Army of Women been so successful? Well, because of you! We forward recruiting studies to all the members of the AOW – we don’t match. Our volunteers then spread the word about these studies to their friends, family, and networks – and make the studies go viral.
The Army of Women is a free and secure online resource connecting volunteers to breast cancer researchers.
What is next for the Army of Women? We want to make research more accessible. Many of you may remember our new website launch, which introduced new features and fresh content. We are thrilled to announce our newest expansion: a free Army of Women app – now available on the Apple and Google Play stores. Download it and let me know what you think!