UMass Breastmilk Lab

Donate human milk if you are breastfeeding and have a breast-cancer diagnosis or are getting a breast-biopsy

Breastmilk donations sought from women with breast cancer & nursing women getting a biopsy

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst are looking for breastfeeding mothers who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are willing to donate a breast-milk sample. We are also recruiting lactating women who are undergoing a breast biopsy (you might be scheduling the biopsy or already undergone the procedure, we can work with you). Please consider donating milk if you are breast-feeding and currently have diagnosed breast cancer or are undergoing a breast biopsy.  For more information about this study, and to participate, call (413) 545-0813, or email us:

What will participants have to do as breast milk donors?

Milk donation helps breast cancer biomarker research project
Your milk donation helps our breast cancer research project
You will be asked to complete an informed consent document and a questionnaire. Then you will need to provide milk and saliva samples.  Each participant will receive $50.  We will ask t access to the pathology reports related to your biopsy or tumor. For cancer cases, we will ask your permission to seek samples from your excised tumor (we know how to work with your physicians). We have a page that describes our donation process and the shipping system that works for the lower 48 States.

How is your privacy protected?

Every effort will be made to protect your privacy. Your name will not be used in any of the research reports or publications prepared with results obtained from this study. All information obtained in this study that identifies who you are will be recorded with a code number, and all studies are approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Massachusetts.

What is the purpose of the breastmilk research study? Overview:

The study relates to assessing risk and predicting the development of breast cancer in women at high-risk women of developing breast cancer. The high-risk women typically have cancer-related BRCA mutations but you don’t need to know your BRCA status to be part of the study if you have a cancer diagnosis or are undergoing a biopsy.

What is the study for: More detail focusing on cancer and biopsy cases:

BRCA breast cancer study of human breast milk funded by the BCRP
Funds from the breast cancer stamps fund the program that funds us!
There is a web-page with a detailed description of the breast cancer risk study.  We are looking for DNA markers that predict near term development of breast cancer.  A typical study might test an at-risk group and check back after 5 and 10 years.  That does not work well for studies of women who know they have BRCA mutations since they will probably get prophylactic mastectomies to reduce their risk. We are therefore recruiting women who have breast cancer or are getting a biopsy to check for breast cancer.  We will compare the markers in your breastmilk samples to those of the women of the high-risk BRCA group.  If you are having a biopsy and it shows a non-cancer result then we will put your samples into a special control group.

How is the breast milk cancer biomarker project supported?

This project has funding (2020-22) from the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.  Support for the program comes from appropriated Federal funds and from the USPS breast cancer stamps.

Recruitment materials for medical professionals

Some women contact us directly through these web-pages but we are heavily dependent on doctors, surgeons, counselors, and advocates to introduce and discuss our program with potential participants. We have a page with useful informational items to download or request.
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