Issues for Survivors, Patricia Ganz, MD
Dr. Patricia Ganz is a medical oncologist at UCLA who has devoted her career to researching survivorship issues for women with breast cancer. I have known her since the Susan G Komen Foundation honored us jointly with the first Hatcher Professor of Survivorship appointments more than a decade ago. She continues to present an publish very interesting work, and much of it is available online. This is a summary from Medscape about a new study re fatigue and cognitive issues for survivors. Per usual, I give you the beginning and then a link:
Pain, Fatigue, Cognitive Deficits in Breast Cancer Survivors
An Expert Interview With Patricia Ganz, MD
September 22, 2011 — Editor's note: The medical and psychosocial needs of cancer survivors have been the subject of increasing research in recent years. After breast cancer, some women experience persistent pain, fatigue, lymphedema, cognitive difficulties, and sleep disorders, which can last for years. Late effects of cancer treatment also include vaginal symptoms that affect sexual health, increased risk for diabetes and osteoporosis, and, for a minority of women, cardiovascular disease.
These health concerns and quality-of-life issues, as well as treatment solutions, were highlighted at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium, held September 8 to 10 in San Francisco, California, and cosponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Breast Disease, the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and the National Consortium of Breast Centers.
Researcher and presenter Patricia Ganz, MD, professor of health services in the School of Public Health and director of the division of cancer prevention and control research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), spoke with Medscape Medical News about the quality-of-life issues in breast cancer survivors that were discussed at the conference.
Medscape: Which healthcare issues affecting breast cancer survivors were discussed at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium, and which do you think needs the most attention?
Dr. Ganz: There is more recognition now that the late effects of breast cancer treatment cannot be ignored, yet we need more. The focus of most clinician visits is to find out whether there's been a recurrence of breast cancer, but often persistent symptoms like fatigue, cognitive problems, pain, and sexual difficulties are not addressed. There is also increased risk for cardiovascular disease and psychosocial needs among these women. Our responsibility is to create a coordinated healthcare treatment plan for each cancer survivor so that her primary care physician is aware of all her health needs and what needs to be done. Just because she's had breast cancer doesn't mean we can ignore her cholesterol or diabetes.