B.J. Hunter-Caltrider, of Lansing, is from a family prone to cancer. Her mother passed away from the disease and so did several of her aunts. Out of the eight sisters on her mother's side, six were diagnosed with either breast cancer or colon cancer. Her cousin died from the illness too. But B.J. hoped it would skip her.
"My sister has had nothing cancer wise. Yet I was having irregular growth in my breasts."
That was back in 1999, the same year a new breast cancer study was beginning. It was a study between two drugs called Tamoxifen and Raloxifene. Known as the STAR trial, it was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Its goal was to determine which drug was more effective in preventing breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Now after seven years and close to 20,000 participants, the winner has been revealed. It's a tie.
Doctor Carol Slomski of Michigan State University was in charge of 57 participants from around the Lansing area. She says although both drugs work equally well in preventing breast cancer, the side effects from Raloxifene are less than its rival.
"It gives women more options that they didn't have before. Anything we can do to prevent women from getting breast cancer is a good thing."
Hunter-Caltrider agrees, especially since she has two daughters. And they're the next generation in her family at risk. So she says she's happy that she was able to take part and hopefully have helped others by participating in the study.