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Studies Seeks Young, Same-Sex Breast Cancer Survivors to address Quality of Life Issues

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Four new studies aimed at improving the quality of life for women breast cancer survivors are currently seeking participants in the United States and Canada.

Each study's goal is to promote a greater understanding of unmet needs in two underserved populations — young breast cancer survivors, and lesbian and bisexual breast cancer survivors — and will serve as catalysts to design programs and services to address quality of lifestyle issues and to reduce health disparities.

Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is conducting a leading-edge program that seeks to enhance outcomes for Los Angeles County young breast cancer survivors, ages 20-45.

The three-year study will focus on developing resources and strategies to improve life after breast cancer for young women by better meeting their needs during and after treatment. The program will ultimately serve as a model for other organizations across the country.

This young breast cancer survivor study is funded by a $700,000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant and is being conducted in collaboration with the Jonsson Cancer Center, the UCLA-LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence and the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.

Services will be offered to study participants through the UCLA Health System and with collaborators at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and the South Bay Cancer Survivorship Consortium, as well as the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a public hospital in northern Los Angeles County which treats mostly minority women who are underinsured or who have no insurance.

In a second study, Dr. Ganz has also received a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to test the practice of mindful awareness, a form of meditation, as a way to combat stress and anxiety in younger breast cancer patients.

Dr. Ganz believes reducing anxiety is critical for young breast cancer survivors. Pre-clinical studies have shown that stress can promote cancer growth and spread in animal models.

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