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Susan G. Komen awards Case Western Reserve nearly $500,000 to study breast cancer in older women
Date:7/19/2010

CLEVELAND July 19, 2010 Cynthia Owusu, MD, associate professor at Case Western Reserve University and geriatric-oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the School's primary affiliate, has received nearly $500,000 from Susan G. Komen For the Cure to fund a novel three-year study aimed at improving outcomes for older women with newly-diagnosed breast cancer.

Recent gains in life expectancy coupled with aging as a risk factor for breast cancer makes breast cancer a disease of older women. While breast cancer mortality rates are declining among women less than 70 years of age, they have either remained stable or increased among the oldest women with breast cancer.

"One reason for the existing age-related disparities in breast cancer mortality is the under-treatment of breast cancer among older women in comparison with their younger counterparts," said Dr. Owusu. "Several barriers have contributed to the under-treatment of older women, such as misconceptions and misinformation about reduced functional reserves and tolerability of cancer treatment by older women. This has served to limit their options and impact their survival."

Dr. Owusu hypothesizes that age-related disparities will be observed in receipt of recommended standard treatment for breast cancer and that age-related disparities in breast cancer treatment will be partly explained by differences in declines in physical function that occur during cancer treatment of older women.

To examine the hypothesis requires measurement of physical function and ensuing decline that occurs during breast cancer treatment of older women. The study will enroll 200 women 65 years of age and over who have been newly diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer.

"Given that current instruments used by medical oncologists to measure physical function among cancer patients have been shown (by clinical research) not to be particularly accurate when applied to senior
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Contact: Christina DeAngelis
christina.deangelis@case.edu
216-386-3635
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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