Director's message: Focus on women's cancers and health

Volume 4, Issue 3, 2015


Cancer observances are important opportunities to educate and raise awareness.

Photograph of Robert B. Diasio, M.D., director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

Robert B. Diasio, M.D.

September marks the beginning of a two-month focus on women's cancers and health, including Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, National Women's Health & Fitness Day, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Mammography Day.

These observances are important opportunities to raise awareness of cancers that affect women, actions that can be taken to prevent and treat these diseases, and the need for ongoing support that will help fund research to improve treatments.

At the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, one of our goals is to advance understanding about breast cancer and gynecologic cancers and to improve treatment strategies, with a focus on:

  • Identifying key genetic alterations underlying women's cancers
  • Defining key cellular systems and pathways in the biology of women's cancers
  • Improving identification of women at increased risk of breast cancer and gynecologic cancers
  • Developing and testing innovative treatment strategies for women's cancers

This issue of Forefront details exciting research in these areas, including work on a new DNA test that could eventually result in a screening test for endometrial cancer, and the discovery of a master switch in the HER2 protein that sets off a chain of events that can turn healthy cells into cancerous cells. A better understanding of this process could provide researchers with a way to prevent this process.

Thank you for subscribing to Forefront and following us as we work to relieve the burdens of cancer. We welcome your comments at

Robert B. Diasio, M.D.
Director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor