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Patricia A. Ganz, MD
Distinguished University Professor
Schools of Medicine and Public Health
Director, Cancer Prevention & Control Research
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of California
Los Angeles, California
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board
Seeking to improve quality of life in breast cancer patients and survivors by minimizing cancer therapy side effects and preparing women for what to expect during and after treatment.
Several efforts are ongoing aimed at understanding the causes of therapy-induced cognitive impairment and premature aging.
A better understanding of chemotherapy effects on cognitive function will inform treatment decisions and interventions that can reduce these effects.
Dr. Ganz is conducting research that is primarily focused on improving cognitive function in breast cancer survivors who have persistent memory and concentration problems.
Some of the studies Dr. Ganz will oversee this year include:
analysis of data collected from a group of women up to 6 years after the end of treatment for which questionnaires, blood work, and detailed testing of cognitive function were assessed;
a large treatment trial to help women improve their memory and thinking if they are having problems;
a study to determine how breast cancer treatments may accelerate the development of age-related cognitive decline, e.g., an intensively treated 50-year-old breast cancer patient may have the cognitive age of a 65-year-old healthy woman;
a study to improve how oncologists inform breast cancer patients about the treatment recovery period and how to help improve the recovery process in their patients.
Collectively, these studies may provide greater insight into the reasons why some women have ongoing difficulties with thinking and memory, and identify ways to help women improve their memory and concentration after breast cancer treatment.
Patricia A. Ganz, MD, a medical oncologist, has been a member of the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine since 1978 and the UCLA School of Public Health since 1992. Since 1993 she has been the Director of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 1999 she was awarded an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship for "Enhancing Patient Outcomes across the Cancer Control Continuum." Dr. Ganz was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2007. She served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors from 2002-2007 and on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Directors from 2003-2006. She received the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in 2010. Dr. Ganz is a pioneer in the assessment of quality of life in cancer patients, and has focused much of her clinical and research efforts in the areas of breast cancer and its prevention. At the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, she leads the scientific program focused on Patients and Survivors. Her major areas of research include cancer survivorship and late effects of cancer treatment, cancer in the elderly, and quality of care for cancer patients. Dr. Ganz currently serves as Vice Chair of the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Forum, and Chaired the 2013 IOM consensus report entitled "Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis."