Why are some women more likely to develop breast cancer in the 10 years after they have a baby?
Scientists have identified many reasons why women get breast cancer. However, we don’t understand why, for some women, the risk of breast cancer increases in the decade after they have a baby. Postpartum breast cancer (PPBC) accounts for more than half of breast cancers in women younger than age 45. It is usually a fast-growing cancer that often results in death. Currently, we have no effective ways to prevent, screen, or test younger women for PPBC. In this project, scientists will use electronic health record information along with information from the KP Research Bank to develop risk models for PPBC. This work will be a first step in developing ways to identify and screen women who have a high risk of developing PPBC.
Learning from electronic health records to improve how doctors prescribe medications
Most doctor visits in the United States end with the patient receiving at least one medication prescription. However, doctors may not have all the information they need to choose the most effective medication and dose for each patient. In this study, scientists will use hundreds of thousands of patients’ medication records from the KP Research Bank to look for patterns in how patients responded to medications. The patterns might be based on factors such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, genetics, lifestyle, and the environment. The goal of this study is to develop tools to help doctors choose the medication and dose that are best for each patient.
Loneliness and its effect on people who have cancer
Research shows that loneliness and long periods of isolation from other people can shorten the lives of people who have cancer. To ensure physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaiser Permanente temporarily stopped cancer screenings for members. This temporary halt delayed cancer diagnoses and ongoing treatments for some people.
In 2020, the KP Research Bank collected survey information from participants about the pandemic’s effect on their lives. For example, the survey asked if participants lived alone and about any changes in who lived with them. The survey also asked about feelings of loneliness and online social activity.
In this study, scientists will study participants’ answers to these questions to understand how their experiences, including feelings of isolation, affected participants who were and were not receiving cancer treatment during the pandemic. The study will help us better understand how social isolation and loneliness affect people with cancer.
Shoulder pain and genetics
Shoulder pain caused by conditions such as rotator cuff tears, shoulder arthritis, and frozen shoulder affects millions of people each year and is common after age 40. Current treatment includes physical therapy and surgery. The causes of these shoulder conditions are not well understood, and individuals’ genetics may play a role. The purpose of this study is to look at the connection between a person’s genome and shoulder problems. The researchers will use genome-wide association study results from KP Research Bank participants to analyze the genetics of patients with and without shoulder problems. The results from this study may help doctors identify patients who are at risk for conditions that cause shoulder pain so they can improve treatments and outcomes for patients.