ORCA Study

Cancer Epidemiology Research Cooperative (CERC)

ORCA Study

Outcomes and Risk Factors among Breast CAncer Survivors

Co-Principal Investigators:  Kathleen E Malone, PhD, and Christopher I Li, MD, PhD
Co-Investigator: Peggy L Porter, MD
Study Manager: Cecilia O’Brien (cobrien@fredhutch.org)
Program Assistant: Christabel Fowler
Biostatistical Investigators: Li Hsu, PhD
                                                   Yingye Zheng, PhD
                                                    David Doody, MPH
Interviewers: Elaine (Loni) Tipton
                        Georgene Ranney

Contact Information:
    866-352-9525 Toll Free
    206-667-5948 Fax

    The ORCA Study
    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    PO Box 19024 (M4-C308)
    Seattle WA 98109-1024


What is the ORCA Study?

Women diagnosed with breast cancer have an increased risk of developing a second new cancer. However, very little is known about which breast cancer survivors have a greater risk of developing another cancer. The purpose of this study is to look for the possible causes of developing a second breast cancer or other new cancer among women who had an invasive breast cancer. We would like to help improve the health of all women with breast cancer.

Funding for this study is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Who is being asked to participate?

Two groups of women from Western Washington, diagnosed since 1993 with breast cancer at ages 20-74, are being asked to participate in the ORCA Study: 1) Women diagnosed with one breast cancer, and 2) Women who have also been diagnosed with one of the four most common second cancers, including breast, lung, colon, and endometrial (uterine). Our goal is to enroll 2,600 women into this study.

Why is participation important?

Studies such as this compare information from people who have a particular disease or health condition to those who do not. Identifying the differences between these groups can help answer why some people develop the disease or condition being studied.

Each woman invited to participate in ORCA is incredibly valuable. As we are unable to interview every woman diagnosed with breast cancer our participants serve as a representative for many other women with breast cancer.

The more women who accept this invitation to participate, the more we will learn about why some breast cancer survivors later develop a second new cancer.

What are participants asked to do?

A Fred Hutchinson interviewer will call potential study participants to explain the study and will arrange a telephone interview at a convenient time for those who agree to participate. Our interviewers work days, evenings and weekends. Prior to the interview we mail a packet of participant materials that will help with the interview process.

The interview includes questions about medical history, medication use during specified time periods, lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use, family cancer history, and initial breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Participants may refuse to answer any question and may stop the interview at any time.

There are also several optional study activities. We will ask for permission to review participant’s medical records for risk factor and treatment information, and to obtain a tissue sample (from their initial breast cancer surgeries) for study purposes. If needed, we will also ask participants to provide a small sample of cells from the inside of their mouth to study genes that may affect cancer risk. This procedure is simple and painless, and involves spitting into a small container we provide. Further, women who do not wish to complete the telephone interview may participate in one or more of these optional study activities.

Completing the interview and other study forms and activities will take about one hour (less for women who previously participated in one of our earlier breast cancer studies) depending on an individual’s personal history.

Will information be kept confidential?

Interviews will only be identified by a number. All the information provided will be kept strictly confidential, and will only be used for research to increase our knowledge of breast cancer.