The importance of research

Research is ongoing, it never stops in the drive to prevent and cure breast cancer.

Breast cancer is not just one disease; there are many types and stages all of which need different treatments. That is why we cannot rest on our laurels, and why we must continue to drive our research efforts to achieve the best – the best outcomes, the best preventative measures, the best cure.

The Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust engages in local and international breast cancer research trials to ensure women receive the very best treatment for the type of breast cancer they are suffering from. Women participating in good quality cancer trials, on average, do better in responding to treatment, yet only a minority have this opportunity.

Through good quality research and the contribution of women, research staff, scientists and clinicians, steady advances have been made in breast cancer care. These advances have resulted in improved chances of a good outcome for women diagnosed with the disease.

Major advances in controlling breast cancer include:

  • Our ability to use breast conserving surgery or less radical mastectomy (removal of the whole breast) for many women
  • Saving lives with regular mammography screening
  • Better drug treatments, both chemotherapy and hormonal therapies
  • The entry into the era of highly targeted therapies aimed at breast cancers which have specific features present e.g. Herceptin for HER2 positive breast cancer
  • Reducing local recurrence with improvements in radiotherapy
  • Developments of breast reconstruction and sentinel node surgical techniques
  • Breast cancer prevention