Can Crowdsourcing Revolutionise Breast Cancer Research?

October 20, 2013 By IdeaConnection
Normal (left) versus cancerous (right) mammography image.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) breast cancer is the top cancer in women in both the developed and developing world.

To gain a better understanding of its potential causes, breast cancer expert Susan Love, M.D. has launched a massive crowdsourcing platform that will involve women and men with and without a history of breast cancer.

Although a lot is understood about the disease, most women who are diagnosed have none of the known risk factors. Therefore, much is still unknown.

The principle purpose of the HOW study is to track the health of thousands of women over twenty years or more. In so doing, hidden patterns may be uncovered that could provide fruitful avenues for research into causes and cures.

According to Love, these kinds of observations are sometimes better coming from lay individuals rather than researchers who may be constrained by particular ways of thinking or schools of thought.

Online Questionnaires

Periodically, participants will be informed about questionnaires they can answer online. These will cover multiple topics such as health, job, lifestyle and diet. The more questionnaires that people are able to fill in the more information researchers will have at their fingertips.

Participants over the age of 18 from any country are being invited to take part in the crowdsourced study.

Once a large online database of participants has been established, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation may also use it to look for links with other diseases. As of today, approximately 46,000 people have volunteered to participate in the study.

For more information and to sign up to take part, click here.

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