Though recent medical advances are helping more women survive breast cancer, many of these women face quality of life issues related to their diagnosis and treatment. Quality of life issues may include fatigue, digestive issues, memory loss or changes to weight and body image. Some breast cancer survivors also experience challenges that can affect their physical and emotional well-being.To manage these issues, the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) partnered with the world-renowned research organization Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) to study cancer wellness using an approach called Scientific Wellness. Developed in 2014 by ISB, Scientific Wellness explores how an individual’s unique biological characteristics can affect their overall health. As part of this effort, SCI is launching a study for newly diagnosed women with early-stage breast cancer to identify biological changes or biomarkers (such as their hormone levels and genetic mutations) related to common treatment side effects. By monitoring, evaluating, and addressing each woman’s unique biological and behavioral traits, SCI hopes to develop treatment approaches that lower side effects and improve quality of life for women with breast cancer.
Highlights of the study include:
- Measuring trends in participants’ biomarkers over time for up to three years after diagnosis.
- Monitoring for particular conditions from the beginning of cancer treatment in order to identify likely ways to reduce side effects.
- Giving patients access to highly trained health coaches. The coaches will work with each survivor’s medical team to help patients understand results. They will also give advice for lifestyle changes to lower side effects and improve quality of life.
- Full individual report of genetics, proteins, blood content, gut microbiome (measurement of gut organisms), stress hormones, cognitive and brain function, immune response and patient-reported side effects in order to create a complete and dynamic profile for each participant.
- Potentially revealing new understandings of a patient’s individualized treatment plan.
The goal is to enroll 100 women in this study. We need your help to ensure that women can participate in this groundbreaking research. By making a gift to the Scientific Wellness study, you can help usher in a new era of care for women with breast cancer.
For more information or to donate, visit www.swedishfoundation.org/cancer.
This article is from the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Life to the Fullest, the newsletter from the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) dedicated to those with cancer, cancer survivors, and their family members and caregivers.