About the study

If breast cancer is to be prevented, its causes must be found. The Generations Study is a large, comprehensive UK study specifically focused on finding the causes of breast cancer.

Why is the study needed?

Nearly 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK and the numbers are increasing. Many of these could, in principle, be prevented, but to do so we need to gain a better understanding of the causes of breast cancer. 

Scientific evidence indicates that the causation of breast cancer involves a complex mixture of factors – some to do with behaviour, such as lack of exercise, some to do with environment and some genetic (inherited). These factors act at many different stages of life, starting in childhood and perhaps even before birth, and continuing to the menopause and beyond. 

To find out what these factors are, and how they combine with each other to cause breast cancer, this study was established in which information about the factors, and how they change through life, is related to the risks of subsequent breast cancer.

The study was set up as a partnership between Breakthrough Breast Cancer (now Breast Cancer Now) and The Institute of Cancer Research