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Quality Of Life

Improving management of chronic conditions in breast cancer patients and survivors

Flinders University of South Australia Professor

Boguslawa (Bogda) Koczwara

Approximately 70 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have at least one other chronic condition, and one third have three or more.

The presence of chronic conditions (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and musculoskeletal disease) impacts treatment choices, increases treatment toxicity, is associated with reduced adherence to treatment and overall survival.

The prevalence of chronic conditions in breast cancer survivors is higher than aged matched cancer-free population, suggesting that either cancer itself or its treatment predisposes patients to chronic conditions. Despite these statistics, the management of chronic conditions is poorly integrated into the care of breast cancer.

The study aims to measure the burden of chronic conditions in breast cancer patients and survivors in Australia and identify populations most at risk of chronic conditions before and after breast cancer.

It will also examine mechanisms behind the development of chronic conditions and consider ways in which they could be prevented.

Professor Bogda Koczwara will develop and pilot strategies for better integrated management of chronic conditions in breast cancer that will lead to improved outcomes (particularly in bone and heart health) and to serve as a model of care for other cancers.

Understanding the origin of chronic conditions in breast cancer and the mechanism for their development may offer insight into prevention of not just chronic conditions but cancer itself.

Flinders University of South Australia Professor

Boguslawa (Bogda) Koczwara