What motivates breast cancer researcher Dr Brigid Lynch?February 17th, 2017
Breast cancer researchers have many motivations for choosing this particular field to work in, and for Dr Brigid Lynch, it’s very personal. She’s passionate about making a difference in breast cancer because her grandmother, who she was very close to, died from the disease.
Why does she love research?
Dr Lynch loves research because she says she’s a ‘big picture’ person. “I really like hearing about breakthroughs in different fields, or learning new techniques, and then seeing how I can apply these to help solve the problems I am working on. I love being able to work on something different every day!” she says.
After finishing her undergraduate Science degree, Dr Lynch started working in health promotion, but a year later moved into a research assistant role on an epidemiological study – a field which analyses the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in the population. She soon realised that she loved research, and started a PhD in epidemiology and then moved into breast cancer research for Cancer Council Victoria.
Why is her research important?
NBCF funded Dr Lynch under an Early Career Fellowship, a four-year program where she is looking at how exercise can really make a difference for women with breast cancer, and also how lifestyles can impact whether breast cancer may develop in the first place.
“People are often curious about how our environment – like air pollution or contaminants in food – might increase breast cancer risk. I think people are surprised to learn that the biggest contributors are things we have the power to change, such as obesity, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption,” says Dr Lynch.
“It’s very exciting to be at the forefront of research into the link between inactive lifestyles and cancer. I’m particularly interested in using objective methods of physical activity assessment to work out more precisely the actual impact of not doing exercise on a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer.”
Her message to NBCF supporters
Dr Lynch is very grateful for the support she receives from NBCF and the Australian public who have funded her research. “The generosity shown by so many in the community towards funding breast cancer research is astounding. I never take this support for granted, but work hard every day to try and reduce breast cancer incidence, and improve quality of life among those diagnosed with the disease.”
And Dr Lynch practices what she preaches, making sure she gets up and active every day of the week – whether its ballet classes, walking, running or high intensity interval training – she’s an inspiration to us all.