Breast Cancer Researcher - My Story

Every year in Ireland over 2,800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. That figure is rising annually and according to statistics by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland there has been a 33% increase in the number of cases diagnosed over a ten year period.

However, 85% of women are surviving breast cancer, thanks to cancer research which is improving detection and treatments. The Irish Cancer Society has invested €7.5m in BREAST-PREDICT a five year study focused on breast cancer research.

One such BREAST-PREDICT researcher is Lisa Dwane whose research focuses on hormone driven breast cancer. Lisa’s mother Marion is a breast cancer survivor, and it was this experience which drove Lisa to pursue her chosen career path.

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“My mam was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 37 years old and I was 14. Seeing what my Mam went through I wanted to do something to help women so that no family ever has to go through that kind of pain again,” Lisa said.

Marion was diagnosed with stage 3A hormone driven breast cancer; she had a lumpectomy, then chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Herceptin had just been made available in Ireland at the time and Marion was one of the first to avail of the new treatment. Now, 11 years later she is cancer free and extremely proud that her daughter is helping others through her career.

Lisa said of her work, “About 70% of breast cancers are hormone driven. Most of these women will be treated with tamoxifen and about one third of them will relapse within 15 years. We’re looking for new ways to treat this type of patient, patients that either fail on tamoxifen treatment or don’t respond at all.

“It’s very important for patients to know what we’re doing even though a lot of our research is at the early stages and it may take a few years for something to come from it. There are currently therapies coming out at the moment that people have been researching for a long time; this is what we’re doing now and hopefully in a few years down the line we may have new drugs for patients.”

Proud mum Marion said, “I’m so proud of her. Cancer research is so important. I’m living proof of this.”

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Members of the public can help fund vital cancer research and support services for those affected by cancer, such as Night Nursing and the Society’s Freephone Cancer Nurseline, by supporting Cups against cancer this October. Visit or call 1850 60 60 60 for fundraising ideas and information on breast cancer.