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Study Focuses on Women's Health After Breast Cancer

The “Women’s Health After Breast Cancer” initiative at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is investigating factors that may affect women’s health //after they are diagnosed with breast cancer, with a focus on both quality of life and prevention of cancer recurrence.

The comprehensive study, under the direction of Chi-Chen Hong, PhD, and Christine Ambrosone, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, RPCI, will examine the combined impact of cancer treatment, genetic makeup, physiological changes, lifestyle habits, diet, physical activity, emotional well being, and social support as factors that can affect the health of women with breast cancer and be predictive of risk for recurrence.

Weight gain – the initial research focus – occurs in 50 to 95 percent of early stage breast cancer patients who receive chemotherapy after surgery and/or radiation therapy, and has been associated with a poorer prognosis.

The prospective study will follow 600 early stage breast cancer patients from diagnosis, through treatment and after treatment to identify modifiable risk factors for weight gain, women who are most susceptible to weight gain during and after treatment for breast cancer, and to investigate the influence of weight gain on the risk of recurrence.

Data on hormone levels, menopausal status, body composition, diet, physical activity, psychological variables, genetic makeup will be collected at baseline, at six months and annually for two years. Mammographic density levels will be monitored annually as an indicator of breast cancer risk. This is believed to be the first study to investigate the role of hormonal changes and genetic variants in weight gain in these patients.

A study of alterations in weight, body composition and fat distribution among early stage breast cancer patients will provide insights into the mechanisms by which weight gain influences prognosis and targets for prevention of recurrence these patient
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