Supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb through the Robin Roberts Cancer Thrivership Fund
People who have been treated for cancer are not only at risk of cancer returning, but also at risk of long term side effects of their treatments some of which may threaten their life, including heart disease and other cancers. Medical teams are always searching for new ways to identify and reduce these risks. Some people will develop changes in their blood cells called “Clonal Hematopoiesis” (CH) and people with these changes have recently been found to be at higher risk of developing serious problems such as cancer and heart attacks and dying. CH is found more in older than younger people and more commonly in people who have been treated for cancer. We don’t know how common CH is in cancer survivors, who is at risk, when it develops and when and if we should be looking for it. But we are finding it more commonly with genetic tests that are being done as a part of their care. Our team hopes to provide answers to these questions by looking for CH in a group of women who were treated for breast cancer at a young age and agreed to give us blood samples and let us follow them over time. We will do special testing to find CH in their stored blood and see how it is different in different women, and changes over time. We will also ask them how they might feel about learning about CH results if they had CH, how learning about these risks that might affect them, and what they might need to support them best to help them to manage these risks. We hope this research leads to findings that can be used to understand this problem better and to improve how we take care of cancer survivors both now and in the future.