GILBERT, AZ - You have probably heard of donating blood, plasma or bone marrow, but what about donating breast tissue? It plays a crucial role in cancer research and now a unique donation drive is giving Valley women a chance to take action.
For nurse Brenda Noggy, cancer research is not just her passion and profession, it is deeply personal.
"He was given just six weeks to live," Noggy said.
After serving as a caregiver throughout her father's battle with lung cancer, Noggy donated some of her breast tissue. She hopes to one day spare other families from losing a loved one to breast cancer.
"Research is the only way to move this forward to get a cure," said Dr. Lida Mina, a Breast Medical Oncologist at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Mina worked for years at Indiana University, which houses the world's only healthy breast tissue bank. Now, for the first time, she is bringing that bank to Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.
"We have a ton of studies looking at actual tumors, but it's hard to know what the tumor is if you don't compare it to what's normal," she said.
Women can register to donate their healthy breast tissue through a quick biopsy. It takes about an hour from start to finish. There is a little bit of pain involved, but Mina says those samples could the key to curing, and ultimately preventing, cancer.
"Basically reaching a point (where) we don't need to treat it because we know what's the process that's going to make it happen," Dr. Mina said.
"If my father was here and diagnosed today, he could have lived longer or maybe have a cure," said Noggy.
The tissue bank will be accepting donations on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert. Donors must have a confirmed appointment. Click here to register.