Study Outline

The Generations Study is focused specifically on finding the causes of breast cancer.

What is the Study about?

The study involves over 110,000 women from the general population from whom information has been gathered, at recruitment and subsequent follow-up rounds, about factors that might relate to breast cancer risk or protection. Contact is then being kept with these women over time to determine their risks of breast cancer in relation to these factors; in medical terminology the study is called a “cohort study”.

Cohort studies are the most powerful method available to science to find out the causes of cancer in people. For example, scientists used this type of study to show clearly that cigarettes cause lung cancer and that asbestos causes cancer of the lining of the lung (pleural cancer).

The Generations Study has been designed to investigate the complex interplay of lifestyle, environmental, genetic and hormonal factors acting throughout a woman’s life and determine how these affect an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer. Pinpointing these factors should be of benefit to present and future generations, and enable women to make informed lifestyle choices.

The study has a unique focus and scale. It has been running since the early 2000's and will continue to give information on the causes of breast cancer for many years.  Many scientific publications have used or are using study data contributing to the process towards our understanding of breast cancer and other diseases.

Find out about more about current knowledge of breast cancer risk factors