Harvard Medical School
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Director, Adult Survivorship Program, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center
Vice Chair, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Enhancing the care, support, and community of young women with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in adolescents and young adults, and incidence rates are increasing. This population tends to develop more aggressive breast cancer and is often not diagnosed until later stages. These patients therefore receive more intensive therapy and unfortunately have a higher risk of cancer recurrence and death. Dr. Partridge and her team are dedicated to addressing what drives breast cancer in young individuals, and they focus on the unique psychosocial challenges that accompany developing breast cancer at a young age. The team is leading several studies focused on developing and testing interventions to improve care and outcomes and understanding the biological underpinnings of breast cancer in young women.
The Young Women’s Breast Cancer Study (YWS) study enrolled over 1,300 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer between 2006 and 2016 and is nearing the 20-year milestone. Dr. Partridge and her team continue to conduct several analyses on surveys of patient reported outcomes, collect blood and tumor samples, and contribute annotated specimens to scientific collaborators. Through these studies, the team has discovered distinct genomic features in young women compared to older women and many therapeutic targets that warrant further investigation. The longevity of the YWS study also makes it uniquely positioned for investigations of age-related tumor biology, as well as studies evaluating the impact of genetic risk, post-diagnosis pregnancy, premature menopause, and other factors. Other BCRF Investigators are collaborating with Dr. Partridge to evaluate tumor genomics in response to therapy in sub-cohorts of the YWS including very young women with breast cancer and those with HER2-positive breast cancer.
A related study, The Young, Empowered and Strong Study (YES) is an intervention program that utilizes an internet-based portal designed by Dr. Partridge’s team to help monitor cancer related issues in real-time, share self-management information and resources, and connect patients to relevant education and supportive care resources.
This year the team will continue to accrue patients to The Young Women’s Breast Cancer Study 2 – Intervention (YWS2i) and YES Survivors, a randomized controlled trial funded in part by the National Institute of Health and BCRF. Dr. Partridge is also involved in a collaboration with the Breast Cancer Weight Loss (BWEL) study that should provide important data and insights into the disease and risks of young women with breast cancer.
Ann Partridge, MD, MPH is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is a clinical researcher focused on improving the care and outcomes of patients with cancer, with a focus on treatment, survivorship, and psychosocial issues facing women with breast cancer. She is the Vice Chair of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Director of the Adult Survivorship Program at DFCI and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Founder and Director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer at DFCI. She serves as co-chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Breast Committee, member of the National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Steering Committee and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Board of Directors and has recently begun serving as Chief Scientific Advisor for Susan G. Komen. Dr. Partridge has published numerous manuscripts, lectures both nationally and internationally on issues of cancer survivorship and young women with breast cancer and has received several grants and awards recognizing her work.
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