Helping people survive and thrive after cancer

Anne BlaesWhile chemotherapy drugs can slow or stop the growth of cancer, they can also cause adverse health impacts in cancer survivors.

With longtime support from Minnesota Masonic Charities, Anne Blaes, M.D., director of the U’s Cancer Survivorship Program, has been able to make real headway in better understanding—and stopping—the effects of these drugs.

Recently, Masonic support enabled Blaes and her team to pilot a study on whether women who take chemotherapy drugs called aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. After studying a small group of women who were taking AIs for breast cancer, they found that these drugs can cause damage to a thin membrane inside the heart and blood vessels called the endothelium, which is a predictor of cardiovascular disease.

Today, Blaes’s group continues to look at how to lessen AI damage by leading research on the impact of exercise and strength training, aging, and more.

Masonic support is also enabling Blaes and her team to conduct research on quality of life, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder in breast cancer survivors, and on the health of young adult cancer survivors.

“With the commitment of Minnesota Masonic Charities, we’ve been able to get some significant research off the ground, which in many cases, has provided the preliminary data to apply for larger national grants. I am very grateful for their ongoing support.”


Beshay Zordoky
While advanced therapies have improved cancer survival rates, many of these medications can lead to cardiovascular disease later in life.