Dr Funmi Olopade Explains the Importance of Transgender Women in Breast Cancer Research

Funmi Olopade, MD, FACP, professor of medicine and human genetics and founding director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health at the University of Chicago Medical Center, explains how transgender women are included in breast cancer research and emphasizes why it is important to include all women.

The WISDOM study—Women Informed to Screen Depending On Measures of Risk—was launched to test a personalized approach to screening compared with annual mammograms. Funmi Olopade, MD, FACP, is a professor of medicine and human genetics and founding director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and a co-investigator of WISDOM. Here, she emphasizes the importance of including transgender women in the WISDOM study and how it helps investigators understand social determinants of breast cancer.

Transcript

Are transgender women included in the WISDOM study?

We are just asking women to talk about gender assigned at birth. The one other beauty of WISDOM is that we're asking everyone to give us information about themselves, whatever they're comfortable sharing. So, we will learn, is it the assigned sex at birth or is it the hormonal risk factors that actually increases your risk for breast cancer? Nobody had previously studied that. That's why we don't care what sex you call yourself, as long as you have a risk factor and you're willing to participate, fill out the form.

By filling out the questionnaire, by telling us about your health and history, and giving us your DNA, we will be able to learn a lot. And we know that the DNA isn't all determinants. This is why the social construct, the social science behind who is at risk is so important. This is why getting 100,000 women from all social backgrounds, from all sexual backgrounds, from all states of the United States, will really help us to develop information that we can share with everybody, and then we can go forward.

So, this is really a way for us all to learn collaboratively and not assume that we know everything.