ADVANCES IN PREGNANCY ASSOCIATED BREAST CANCER (PEOPLE’S CHOICE)
Friday, December 9 • 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm CT • Stars at Night Ballroom 1&2
Presentation: Special treatment issues in this young patient population
Ann Partridge, MD, MPH
Vice Chair of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Professor, Harvard Medical School
What is your presentation about?
Caring for young women with breast cancer requires awareness of and attention to issues that more commonly arise in younger patients, including fertility concern and, relatedly, the diagnosis of breast cancer during pregnancy, risk of a genetic predisposition to the disease and future cancers, as well as psychosocial distress given their well-documented risk of substantial distress at diagnosis and follow-up. Over the past several years, increasing understanding of the needs of young patients has led to emerging strategies to meet those needs, as well as focused research to improve their care and optimize their medical and psychosocial outcomes.
With regard to initial treatment decisions, from both a local and systemic standpoint, elicitation of an individual young woman’s priorities, such as body image, prevention of future local disease, preservation of fertility, and maintenance of employment or continuing education, among others, can lead to more tailored, shared decisions regarding therapy.
Long-term concerns and risks, and their management, should also be considered in the care of young survivors especially considering their usual pre-menopausal status at diagnosis, frequent need for chemotherapy due to their disease risks, and potential for myriad complications and questions that may arise over time. Risk of new cancer and associated screening and prevention strategies, coordination of care, optimization of health behaviors and prevention and management of long-term, late effects in this population are all areas that have unique concerns in young women with breast cancer that need to be addressed with patients in follow-up.
What makes this topic important in 2022?
This topic is particularly pertinent in 2022 for two major reasons: 1) the incidence of breast cancer arising in young women has recently been shown to be increasing over the past two decades, and 2) treatment and reproductive health decisions have become much more complicated for some women who are diagnosed with breast cancer during a pregnancy since the Dobbs decision of the U.S. Supreme Court resulted in total bans/tighter restrictions on abortion in many states.
How/why did you become involved with this area of breast cancer research or care?
Early in my career, as I began caring for this vulnerable population, I recognized the impact that breast cancer and its aftermath was having on young women and their families, and the gaps in our knowledge. I began to focus my research on their age-specific concerns in an effort to improve their care and outcomes.