What is involved in taking part?

The Generations Study involves over 100,000 women, aged 16 years or older resident in the UK. Those taking part in the study are asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire and provide a blood sample.


Women taking part in the study are sent a participation pack containing a questionnaire to complete. The questionnaire asks about various factors in a woman's life that might be connected with risk of breast cancer – for instance asking about:

  • How many children you have had
  • What age you were at their births
  • Whether and when you have taken the oral contraceptive pill
  • Whether you have had breast disease

The questionnaire information is stored under the custodianship of The Institute of Cancer Research, and your personal information is kept strictly confidential, and seen only by the study team.

Blood samples

Women are also asked to provide a blood sample that will be analysed to obtain information about hormonal, family (genetic) and other factors that might influence the risk of breast cancer.


Every few years after they have joined, participants are invited to fill in a follow-up questionnaire to see how the factors the study is investigating change over time, and to enable investigation of how changes in those factors affect breast cancer risk.

Can I take part?

If you are interested in joining the study, you can request an information pack to decide whether you wish to take part, by sending an online request or by telephoning 020 8722 4469.

If you have already received the study pack but have not yet returned it, you can still return your questionnaire and blood sample: we would be happy to receive them.

Can men take part?

The design of the study is not suitable to find the causes of breast cancer in men. Therefore the study is solely for women.

However, we have started, in parallel with the Generations Study, a large investigation of the causation of breast cancer in men. The design, unlike that for the Generations Study, is based on men who are specifically approached to take part, rather than volunteers from the general population.