A Southern California man has a dream that in the not too distant future breast cancer will become one less thing for women to worry about, and he is doing something about it.
Kevin Morton, the founder of a new non-profit organization, The Foundation for Breast Cancer Prevention in Irvine, believes his new model for breast cancer prevention will not only open up vast new discovery about the disease that currently plagues 1-in-8 women, but will lower the number of newly-diagnosed cases.
The Foundation for Breast Cancer Prevention seeks to establish a national network of breast cancer teams that can share data, clinical services and prevention programs so that collaboration can occur and new prevention programs can be accelerated in hospitals across the country. Based on the heart disease model, Morton's goal is to move breast cancer from a “diagnose-and-treat” disease to one that is screened for and prevented.
The current understanding and treatment of breast cancer today is where heart disease was 20 years ago, says Morton. At that time a patient would wait until he or she had chest pains, or worse, a heart attack, and then would be treated. By finding risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol through screening and treating the patient before they have a heart attack, the death rate from heart disease dropped more than 40 percent.
“The key to preventing breast cancer is screening beyond mammograms to find women who are at high risk of developing the disease — before they develop cancer. Once we can identify these women, there are several possible interventions that can stop breast cancer from forming,” said Morton, a former medical device inventor. “In women with certain risk factors there are already medications that can actually stop up to 86% of women from developing breast cancer in the first place.”
The epiphany for the foundation came to Morton during his many business visits with physicians. “I had to ask myself, why isn’t anyone doing anything when the medical community knows so much about risk and that breast cancer is a preventable disease.”
The answer was clear.