BETHESDA, MdThe National Cancer Institutes Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS) has allocated $4 million ($2 million a year for 2 years) for the study of cancer survivorship issues in cancer-free individuals who have survived their disease at least 5 years. An additional $350,000 annually for 2 years from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and its Baltimore affiliate will help fund the research.
The funds, OCS first awards since its founding in 1996, will supplement existing grants and cooperative agreements. Of the $2 million annually in federal funds, $250,000 will come each year from the Public Health Services Office of Womens Health.
Five Breast Cancer Studies
Among the 20 awards, five will explore survivorship issues in breast cancer patients, and the Komen Foundation will fund three of these (see below). The remaining 15 studies look at issues in pediatric and adult survivors of cancers.
These awards are only the first step in NCIs renewed commitment to cancer survivors and the issues that affect them, said Anna T. Meadows, MD, director of the OCS. The unprecedented action of the Komen Foundation to fund studies that were reviewed by NCI increases the number of awards we are able to make and prevents duplication of effort.
NCI also issued a request for applications for studies it will fund in mid-1998 to explore problems that affect long-term cancer survivors. A total of $15 million, $3 million a year for 5 years, has been committed to these studies.
Komen Funds QOL Studies
The Komen Foundations $700,000 grant will fund three quality of life studies in breast cancer survivors. A study on reproductive health, to be conducted at UCLAs Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is designed to determine how past breast cancer treatment affects womens menstrual patterns, fertility, and menopausal symptoms. Since many younger women who have been treated for cancer experience menopause early, the study will look at their increased health risks such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
A SWOG study will look at the lasting effects of two different adjuvant chemotherapy regimens on the heart tissue of women who received these treatments for node-negative breast cancer.
A study at the University of Michigan will measure the incidence of lymphedema in 5-year breast cancer survivors. The study will develop a standard method for evaluating lymphedema caused by breast cancer treatment, in order to facilitate further studies in lymphedema prevention and treatment.