Through the Looking Glass- What Our Researchers Have Learned This Year

Finding an end to breast cancer is a collaborative effort. That’s why every December, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) brings together the best in breast health research. This international event is the world’s largest breast care conference, forming a powerhouse of providers, researchers, patients, and advocates dedicated towards improving breast care. It’s an opportunity to learn, to listen, and to be inspired by today’s champions. This year, thanks to your continued dedication to the study, the WISDOM team showcased 4 topics highlighting the latest advances in our breast cancer prevention research. 

The Importance of Diversity in WISDOM

The primary goal of the WISDOM Study is to find the best way to detect breast cancer in all women.  We know that women’s risk for breast cancer is not the same, women of color are at a higher risk for more lethal types of breast cancer. That’s why it’s so important that the WISDOM Study includes a diverse population of women from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Irene Acerbi, WISDOM Study Program Manager at UCSF, highlighted improvements in addressing racial diversity in WISDOM. Thanks to a grant from the National Cancer Institute, WISDOM has expanded study sites in more diverse communities around the country. Our study is now available in Spanish and we are improving our genetic testing methods to better assess risk in minority populations. And while over 30,000 women have already enrolled (thank you!), together we can do even more. Share your WISDOM by referring your friends and family to www.thewisdomstudy.org  and help us reach our goal of enrolling 100,000 women!  

How has the Pandemic Affected my Breast Health?  

It has been a difficult year with COVID-19 disrupting every aspect of our lives, including how we monitor our breast health. According to Dr. Arash Naeim, the WISDOM Study’s Principal Investigator at UCLA, 43% of women reported having their routine medical visit canceled by their primary care provider or health system in the previous two months and 16% had their breast cancer screening visit either cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19 worries. Does this sound like something you have encountered? We’d love to hear your experiences managing your breast care during the pandemic. Email us at wisdomcommunity@ucsf.edu to share your story and for a chance to be featured in our next newsletter! 

Becoming a Member of the WISDOM Community: What Inspired You to Join? 

Do you remember how you joined WISDOM?  We wanted to learn more about how our participant partners learn about and decide to join WISDOM. We found that the majority of WISDOM participants hear about our study through MyChart (an online medical portal that patients use to communicate with their doctors and see their medical records), a friend or family member, or medical staff. Antonia Petruse, the WISDOM Study Program Director at UCLA, showed that use of MyChart improved recruitment by 30-50%! The WISDOM Study is available to all women across the country ages 40-74 who have no history of breast cancer. We want to know, What inspired you to join WISDOM?”. Leave us a comment or direct message on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thewisdomstudy.org

A Tool to Help you Understand your Breast Cancer Risk

The Breast Health Decisions tool is a patient-friendly, online educational tool, designed to let women at moderate to high risk of breast cancer understand the basis of their personal risk and how to reduce it, such as changes to diet, exercise, and medication. UCSF Research Assistants, Mandy Che, Tianyi Wang, and Rashna Soonavala demonstrated that the Breast Health Decisions tool eases anxieties and improves WISDOM participants’ understanding surrounding their breast cancer risk, so they’ll be motivated to take action. The WISDOM team is working towards making this online, customized tool available to more women in the study so that more members of our community can learn about their individual risk, and ways to reduce it.  

We thank all of our WISDOM participant partners for sharing their data, enabling us to showcase progress in breast cancer prevention at the world’s largest breast health conference! The WISDOM Study posters are available under the Helpful Links and Resources section of the Resources page on our website at www.thewisdomstudy.org/resources. 

 

Written by Hannah Park, PhD, WISDOM Study Site Coordinator , Diane Heditsian, WISDOM Advocate and CEO, DeClarity Communications Inc., and Rashna Soonavala, WISDOM Study Research Associate

 

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