Impactful research stories in the fight against women’s cancers

01 May 2015

In celebration of Mother’s Day this May, we are proud to highlight some of our research successes in the fight against women’s cancers. As always, we are thankful for the generosity of our donors, who make this important research possible. 

Learn more about the research investments of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI) in our 2014 Research Impact Report. And read these inspiring impact stories.

Dr Caroline Diorio, Université Laval

The link between sweet foods and drinks and breast cancer risk

There is considerable evidence linking diet with the risk of developing cancer. Dr Caroline Diorio and her team investigated whether increased sugar intake had an effect on breast density, an established risk factor for breast cancer. They showed that increased breast density was associated with high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks in premenopausal women and with high consumption of sweet foods in postmenopausal women. While there is a need to better understand these findings, they point to an important connection between breast density and dietary sugar.

Dr Joanne Stephen, British Columbia Cancer Agency

Studying an online support group for breast cancer survivors

Throughout their cancer journey – from their cancer diagnosis to the months and years after their treatment is completed – a person with cancer will likely require support beyond what their medical team can provide. In research funded by the former Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, Dr Joanne Stephen and her team conducted a large-scale online cancer support study, recruiting over 200 young breast cancer survivors to participate in a forum called CancerChatCanada.

More than 2 years later, 84% of individuals who started the study were still participating, a testament to the value of this type of e-health support system. Along with receiving positive responses from participants and the support services community, this study garnered considerable media attention across the country. The success of this initiative directly contributed to the formation of a national, internet-based psychosocial service for Canadians affected by cancer.