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BCRF Grantee Since

2008

Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Carol J. Fabian, MD

Professor of Internal Medicine
Director, Breast Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Centers,
University of Kansas Medical Center
Morris Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention
Kansas City, Kansas

 

Current Research

Cognitive dysfunction, sometime referred to as “chemo-brain,” is a common complaint of women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and often does not go away after completion of therapy. Symptoms include impairment of mental processing, executive function (planning, organizing, remembering details), and verbal memory. Research suggests that an increase in inflammation caused by the chemotherapy may play a role and that high-dose omega-3 fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory properties, may be effective at improving brain function. In the last year, Dr Fabian’s group completed two small chemoprevention trials testing high-dose omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in high risk women without breast cancer and found that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA reduced the levels of inflammatory markers in the blood. In the coming year, they will do a similar study in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy to see if omega-3 fatty acids supplementation will improve brain function. If a dietary intervention of supplemental omega-3 fatty acid can effectively prevent the development of cognitive dysfunction associated with chemotherapy, then this relatively simple approach may provide benefit to the large number of women being treated for breast cancer.

Bio

Carol Fabian received her MD, internal medicine and oncology training from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas.  Dr. Fabian joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1977 and currently holds the rank of Professor.  She serves as the Director of the Breast Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Centers. These Centers are heavily involved in translational research in addition to providing clinical services.   She leads the Cancer Prevention Research Program within the University of Kansas Cancer Center and holds the Morris Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention.

Dr. Fabian pioneered the use of random periareolar fine needle aspiration to acquire breast epithelial cells for refinement of breast cancer risk assessment.  The technique is also used for evaluation of biomarkers to monitor response in early phase breast cancer prevention clinical trials: 1) weight loss in combination with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation; 2) a flaxseed lignin derivative; and 3) an aromatase inhibitor in postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement.  She is also involved in clinical studies to promote health and quality of life for breast cancer survivors and serves as a Co-Chair for the Cancer Survivorship Committee of SWOG.

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