Reeves recognized with best poster prize at American Society of Preventive Oncology Annual Meeting

University of Massachusetts Epidemiology faculty Katherine Reeves

Katherine Reeves

May 6, 2016

Katherine Reeves, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, was recently recognized for best poster at the annual meeting of the American Society of Preventive Oncology (ASPO), held March 12-15 in Columbus, Ohio. The ASPO describes itself as a “multi-disciplinary society which is committed to serving as an advocate for cancer prevention and control research.”

The poster, titled “Predictors of vasomotor symptoms among breast cancer survivors”, described research by Reeves into whether characteristics of women before their cancer diagnosis affect whether they experience vasomotor symptoms (commonly referred to as hot flashes) following breast cancer treatment.

“They are a frequent side effect of certain breast cancer treatment medications, and are a reason why some women don’t fully stick to their prescribed treatment,” notes Reeves.

“We studied long-term breast cancer survivors and observed that obesity and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes) were not associated with risk of hot flashes after treatment. We concluded that additional research to identify factors that may predispose women to these side effects following breast cancer treatment is needed, in the hope that clinicians could prevent women from experiencing hot flashes and discontinuing their potentially life-saving treatment,” she explains.

Reeves’ research seeks to identify modifiable risk factors for breast cancer, with the ultimate goal of reducing breast cancer mortality. She focuses on modifiable factors that may mediate breast cancer risk through hormonal pathways, including depression and/or antidepressant use, endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates, and obesity and metabolic syndrome.

“I felt quite honored to be selected as the winner among over a hundred posters at the conference. I was pleased that our work was felt worthy of recognition,” says Reeves.