Women can contribute to cancer research by donating breast tissue during Nov. 6 event in Fort Wayne


INDIANAPOLIS -- (Oct 22, 2010) -- Fort Wayne resident Vicki Runge-Helgeson recently decided to unselfishly donate breast tissue as a way to honor two women in her family with breast cancer.

Runge-Helgeson traveled to Indianapolis to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center in August to participate in a breast tissue collection event. Now Fort Wayne area women can conveniently donate breast tissue during a collection event at Fort Wayne Medical Oncology Hematology, 11143 Parkview Plaza Drive, Suite 100.

Volunteers from the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center will be at the Fort Wayne location from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. To reserve a time to donate, call (317) 274-4051.


What to Expect During the Donation Process

During the donation process, a tissue sample is taken from one breast with a needle and local anesthesia. The amount of tissue taken is about one gram (or the size of two peas).


To participate, women must:

  • be age 18 or older
  • have the ability to understand and the willingness to sign an informed consent
  • be willing to give one hour of their time to complete a questionnaire and a breast biopsy
  • not be allergic to local anesthetics (numbing medicine)
  • not be receiving a therapeutic blood thinner (this does not include aspirin)
  • not have breast implants or have had a breast reduction


“I knew when I went in to donate that I was doing something good, but when I left, I knew I just did something great. That is a feeling I will never forget,” Runge-Helgeson said of her experience. She made the donation because her sister-in-law recently was diagnosed with breast cancer and her mother-in-law is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

By collecting samples from women with and without breast cancer, researchers will be able to determine the differences between these populations, which could lead to a better understanding of the disease. Samples taken from women without the disease are especially helpful because there are few collections of so-called "normal" specimens. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, which is the first and only healthy breast tissue bank in the world, will ultimately give researchers valuable and unprecedented research data.