Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Confronts Challenges Facing Young Women With Breast Cancer With Support From Conquer Cancer Foundation Improving Cancer Care Grant

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Ann Partridge, MD, MPH

Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Founding Director of the Program for Young Women With Breast Cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, received a 2010 Improving Cancer Care Grant (ICCG) for her project “Improving the Care of Young Women with Breast Cancer,” to address the critical issues and concerns facing young women who are receiving breast cancer treatment.

Young women undergoing breast cancer treatment have a variety of unique concerns compared to older women. For instance, many women at this stage in life are parenting young children, trying to start a family, completing education, and developing a career. They often feel isolated and lack information, which contributes to greater emotional distress in this patient group.

Young Women’s Intervention Program

To address this, Dr. Partridge and her team at Dana-Farber developed a comprehensive pilot program called the Young Women’s Intervention (YWI) to provide additional care, support, and education for young women with breast cancer, as well as their oncology providers. Building on the success of the program, Dr. Partridge sought to export a sustainable educational and support intervention outside of a comprehensive cancer center to the community setting, where most young women with breast cancer receive treatment.

With the support of the ICCG, Dr. Partridge led a nationwide randomized controlled trial to compare the YWI program to a physical activity intervention to determine if the YWI program content improved attention to fertility issues, quality of care, satisfaction, and quality of life. She also looked at how the physical activity intervention affected exercise behaviors.

In the trial, 40 community and 14 academic sites across the United States were randomly assigned to the YWI or physical activity intervention arm. Each site met its minimum recruitment goal, and 467 women enrolled in the trial and completed the intervention. Dr. Partridge and her team are currently collecting follow-up surveys and medical records, after which they will conduct a final outcomes analysis.

New Model to Improve Care, Overcome Barriers

Dr. Partridge believes this work will not only improve care for young women with breast cancer, but will also serve as a novel model to overcome barriers to delivering optimal care for unique groups of patients in community settings.

At $1.35 million, the Improving Cancer Care Grant, supported by ­Susan G. Komen, is the largest ever in the history of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants and Awards Program, which has now given more than $90 million in Grants and Awards funding since its inception. Dr. ­Partridge is a 2001 Young Investigator Award and 2003 Career Development Award recipient. Receiving the 2010 ICCG made her the first Conquer Cancer Foundation triple-award recipient.

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