The information we get from every single participant really makes a difference.
Dr. Sandler's Corner
It has been 10 years since the first “vanguard” Sisters joined the Sister Study, though for most of you, this milestone will not come for a few years. For some of you, and for us, being part of the Sister Study has become part of what we do and who we are. For others, it is becoming more challenging to stay active in the study, and we are doing what we can to make participation easier. In this newsletter, you will read how we are trying to shorten questionnaires and reduce the number of things we ask you to do. I am most excited about the addition of our team of Participant Advocates who will partner with those who need a hand with completing study-related activities.
This year, we completed our second round of comprehensive follow-up questionnaires with nearly 92 percent of you providing some information. Unfortunately, we lost a few Sisters to death, major illnesses, or fatigue—but our participation rates continue to amaze. We are the envy of our colleagues because of the dedication of our participants and the richness of the data that you have provided over the years. Some of you have been contacted for a new sample collection, Sisters Changing Lives. This will be a unique resource for researchers to learn how biological factors and measures of exposure change over time with or without a diagnosis of breast cancer. Our partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to focus on quality of life among breast cancer survivors makes us one of the few large studies to ask these important questions that matter to women with breast cancer and those who love them.
Some of you have asked us why we continue to request annual health updates and collect new information about your experiences. It is important—and part of what makes the Sister Study unique and powerful—to learn what may have changed in your life experiences or exposures that could influence your risk for developing breast cancer or other health conditions. Some of you may have retired, or have stopped smoking or taking hormones. Others may have developed high blood pressure, switched jobs, or taken on a second career. I have become a grandmother for the very first time.
I wish you and yours good things in the coming months and thank you again for your continued participation in the Sister Study.
Dale P. Sandler, PhD
The Sister Study