Stopping secondary cancers in survivors

TurcotteChildren who survive cancer are at risk for many serious health conditions as they age, one of the most significant being secondary cancers, which can develop as a consequence of childhood cancer therapies.

Lucie Turcotte, M.D., M.P.H., part of the U’s pediatrics faculty and Order of the Eastern Star Scholar, is especially interested in preventing secondary cancers.

This year, Turcotte and her team continued to pore over data from thousands of cancer survivors to identify the most effective ways to reduce secondary breast cancer risk. So far, they have learned that treatments for women with secondary breast cancers are hugely variable and often not based on the same level of scientific evidence as primary breast cancer treatments. They continue to analyze data to understand how treatment delivered impacts patient outcomes and are interviewing medical providers to better understand factors involved in treatment decision-making. They are planning to expand their work to include the perspectives of survivors in the coming year. 

Another project that Turcotte has been excited to launch is a collaboration between the U and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to understand how social and geographic disparities impact short- and long-term outcomes among children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “By identifying outcome disparities, we will have the opportunity to make modifications and work towards more equitable care across populations,” she says. With Masonic support, Turcotte and her team have been able to expedite this important work. 

“It is a huge honor to receive support from Minnesota Masonic Charities. I have also been so impressed by the kindness and support of the Order of the Eastern Star chapters—they have shown sincere dedication to improving the health and well-being of children with cancer. Their generosity has allowed me to take on projects that might otherwise not be possible at this stage in my career.”

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