Is Bone Health Being Neglected Among Breast Cancer Survivors? A Web-based Pilot Study

Principal Investigator: Randall S. Stafford
Funding Agency: Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center
Duration: 7/1/2007 - 6/30/2009

Background: The increasing numbers and longevity of breast cancer survivors in the U.S. merit careful examination of their non-cancer health needs, particularly the quality of prevention care and disparities.  Osteoporosis, among other chronic conditions, is of public health importance in breast cancer survivors owing to their increased longevity and the adverse impact of breast cancer therapy on bone health. 

Aims: 1) To assess breast cancer survivors’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors (KAB) about osteoporosis prevention and treatment, 2) To compare breast cancer survivors to their age-matched cancer-free friends on these same KAB outcomes, 3) To assess ethnic disparities among breast cancer survivors on these outcomes, and 4) To determine the feasibility of a large web-based bone-health intervention for breast cancer survivors that seeks to improve bone health.

Methods:  This pilot study will recruit a multiethnic group of breast cancer survivors who participated in a recently completed population-based survey study of cancer survivors.  We will enroll a minimum of 60 survivors and 30 cancer-free age-matched female friends of the survivors (controls).  All participants will complete an online assessment consisting of validated instruments about osteoporosis-related KAB.  We will perform appropriate statistical analyses to achieve the aims above, focusing on differences by cases/controls and ethnicity, and on exploratory analyses to guide future interventions.

Significance This project represents a multidisciplinary collaboration of SPRC, NCCC and PAMFRI, three organizations whose complementary goals and resources will foster this line of research.  This project is a first step towards the ultimate goal of improving bone health and other chronic disease prevention in the growing population of breast cancer survivors, as well as survivors of other cancers.