Why we’re taking on the challenge

James is a consultant breast surgeon at The Nightingale Centre and Prevent Breast Cancer Research Unit in Manchester, which specialises in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. With a background in ultra-marathon mountain and trail running, he believes RAAM will enable him and Tom to raise a significant amount of money for Prevent Breast Cancer.

He explained: “One in nine women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime; by tackling the hardest cycling race in the world, we want to help Prevent Breast Cancer on its journey to stopping this.”

“Every day I work closely with my patients and their families who go through the stresses of breast cancer. Prevent Breast Cancer has a very powerful message of hope for the future which resonates with me and with patients who want to do their best to prevent breast cancer for their children. The research project we are funding through RAAM is world-leading and will change the way women are assessed for their breast cancer risk and save lives.”

The project they are raising money for follows on from  previous research funded by Prevent Breast Cancer; The SNPs I and SNPS 2  studies have shown that the information from common variations in our DNA called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) can be highly predictive of breast cancer on their own, but also further improve predictions alongside mammogram density and other risk factors. So far the results from SNPs 2 which involved 1,000 women, have been overwhelming, indicating that these gene fragments are highly predictive of breast cancer, which mean that women theoretically could receive a more personalised risk prediction for breast cancer. Additionally, when SNPs are used alongside other risk prediction factors, our researchers have found that over-diagnosis of breast cancers may be reduced as well.

We would like to raise funding for Prof. Gareth Evans SNPs 3 study which will assess the feasibility of offering such a genetic test alongside a personalised breast cancer estimate at a screening appointment, and whether these results could be provided in a timely fashion. Essentially we think this will lead the world in a new way of personalised breast screening giving women for the first time a mammogram, a density assessment , a family history check and a genetic risk in one visit. Women can then be managed according to their personal level of risk.

This is a large study to offer women attending the NHS Breast Cancer Screening Programme in Greater Manchester a ‘risk score’ for developing breast cancer based on the analysis of their DNA. Approximately 1500 women attending the centre for a routine breast cancer screening will be offered this additional SNPs test. We estimate 1000 women will opt to complete the test and receive a risk score. If this trial is successful it will lead to a National Trial of this new method of breast screening, which will revolutionise the breast screening program and will directly impact women’s lives, not just in the North West of England, but also all over the UK and potentially worldwide