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Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition Awards Two Researchers $100K In Grants

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but every year there are more survivors, thanks in part to research being done here in Pittsburgh.

The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition is doing their part to find a cure for breast cancer. One of their main goals is to help fund research.

"Today is a wonderful celebration of the fantastic research going on here at UPMC," Pat Halpin-Murphy, president of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, said.

Two local doctors were celebrated Thursday for the breakthroughs they're making.

"We awarded $100,000 in research grants to pursue better screening for breast cancer and better treatment for the metastatic, or the cancer that has spread," Halpin-Murphy said.

pennsylvania breast cancer coalition
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

Dr. Steffi Oesterreich from the Hillman Cancer Center and Dr. Wendie Berg from UPMC's Magee-Womens Hospital were each awarded $50,000 to continue their work.

"We are looking at ultrasound to be added to the mammogram, and especially now the 3-D mammogram, which is better than the old-fashioned 2-D mammogram," Berg said. "We want to know if we can find more cancers early before they have spread to lymph nodes."

Berg herself is a breast cancer survivor and knows the importance of finding the right screenings.

"I'd like for every woman in Pennsylvania to have the opportunity to have her cancer found early when it's easily treated," Berg said. "Mine was. I was very fortunate."

Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to cover 3-D screening mammograms at no cost to women, and all women who are uninsured or underinsured in Pennsylvania are covered for free mammograms and free treatment for breast cancer.

"The goal of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition is to help find a cure for breast cancer now so that our daughters don't have to," Halpin-Murphy said.

The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition will continue to secure funding for grants across the state. They plan to give out more than $200,000 in grants this year.

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