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Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ Awarded $400K for Research to Help Breast Cancer Patients with a Challenging Decision

Rutgers CINJ LogoNew Brunswick, NJ, September 25, 2015 ― Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey surgical oncologist Laurie J. Kirstein, MD, FACS, and Associate Director for Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Science Sharon L. Manne, PhD, have been awarded a $404,089 grant (R21CA187643) from the National Cancer Institute to explore the decision making process women with non-hereditary breast cancer undergo when considering the removal of a healthy breast.

The aim is to develop a web-based tool to aid them in this process.

Removal of a healthy breast (contralateral prophylactic mastectomy or CPM) has risen five-fold in the past 15 years in women diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast with no family history (Stucky, Gray, Wasif, et al., Annals of Surgical Oncology, 2010; 17: 330-337). 

Dr. Kirstein, who manages the care of patients in the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute and is an assistant professor of surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says typically CPM is not medically recommended for this population, but there are a number of reasons why these women choose to have it.

 

“Fear of return of the breast cancer and perceived risk of recurrence increase the stress related to this decision,” Dr. Kirstein said.  “Advances made in breast reconstruction give many women more confidence about having the procedure, whereas even 10 years ago, the risks involved might have dissuaded women from this choice.  And as more celebrities are choosing CPM, this seems to make the procedure more socially acceptable to some,” she says.

“There is a clinical need for greater patient education with regard to making this complex decision,” adds Dr. Manne, who is a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  “Decision support aids that address the risks and benefits of the procedure can be helpful in promoting a well-informed choice.”

The ultimate aim is to develop a web-based decision support aid for women considering CPM.  The first phase of the project will focus on development of the content of the tool based on interviews with women who did or did not choose to undergo CPM.

Once the data is analyzed, the web-based tool will be developed and feedback gathered from patients.  This will be followed by a clinical trial involving 80 women comparing the feasibility and acceptability of the new tool to women who receive the standard education and discussion from their physicians.

The project period runs through July 2017.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (www.cinj.org) is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-3637 or visit www.cinj.org/giving. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCINJ.

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center and Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.