The Generations Study was first conceived and designed by Professors Swerdlow and Ashworth and their teams in 2002. Following extensive discussions between The Institute of Cancer Research and Breakthrough Breast Cancer it was agreed that a large cohort study was essential to investigate lifestyle, hormonal and genetic risk factors for breast cancer.
A pilot study to test the methods and recruit the first women into the study was conducted in mid-2003. This was successful and as a consequence Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Institute of Cancer Research agreed to a full scale study taking place.
The study was publicly launched on 2 September, 2004 and received extensive television and newspaper coverage. The response exceeded expectations with almost 15,000 women registering an interest to join the study via the website or telephone in the first 24 hours. Enquiries to join the study have kept arriving ever since and by April 2006, we had recruited the 50,000th participant.
In March 2009, the 100,00th participant was recruited, almost a year ahead of schedule - demonstrating how keen women are to be involved in breast cancer prevention. There are now more than 113,000 women taking part in the study, and the information they have sent has already contributed to several scientific findings about breast cancer.