The Health Research Council of New Zealand and Breast Cancer Foundation NZ are pleased to announce that funding has been offered to the following recipients through the Breast Cancer Register initiative. This third call for proposals was about supporting high quality research that utilises data from the BCFNZ-funded national breast cancer patient register, with the aim of further improving delivery of care for better outcomes of the disease in New Zealand.

2018 Breast Cancer Register Partnership recipients:

Dr Sandar Tin Tin, University of Auckland
Spatial variability in breast cancer incidence, care and outcomes
24 months, $199,929

Lay summary​: Disparities exist in breast cancer incidence, care and outcomes in New Zealand, imposing a disproportionate burden on Māori and Pacific women and those living in deprived or remote areas. Personalising these disparities by locating them geographically may help determine where to invest scarce resources for the greatest improvement in cancer prevention and care. This research aims to facilitate this by creating interactive story maps, based on detailed data recorded in the national breast cancer register and Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure, for cancer incidence, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes at different geographical levels. The maps will be freely accessible by the public. This will help identify areas with unmet needs, will enable local communities and policymakers to address identified needs, and importantly will help inform efforts to improve equity in cancer prevention and care in New Zealand.

Dr Annette Lasham, University of Auckland
Analysis of DCIS data in the National Breast Cancer Register
12 months, $117,217

Lay summary​: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) accounts for about 20% breast cancers and represents cancer cells confined within the normal structures of the breast. In up to 40% of patients, invasive breast cancer (IBC) develops with the potential to cause death. We cannot predict which DCIS will develop IBC and consequently all DCIS patients are treated as if it will. Our project proposes to analyse the National Breast Cancer Register for information pertaining to all DCIS cases. We will analyse this data using various statistics methods, with the priority to look for factors associated with NZ DCIS patients developing IBC. We will compare our findings to those from international studies. We will then build a statistical model to see if combining certain types of information can be used to predict the risk of DCIS developing IDC. The findings of this study may be useful in influencing clinical decisions in the future.

Dr Karen Bartholomew, Waitemata District Health Board
Gaps in the provision of radiotherapy for early breast cancer
12 months, $64,984

Lay summary​: Breast cancer is the third leading cause of death for Maori and non-Maori women in New Zealand, and Maori women are more likely to develop breast cancer and to die from it than non-Maori women. Standard treatment for early breast cancer is breast conserving surgery followed by radiotherapy, delivered daily over several weeks. International evidence indicates that some women receive mastectomy despite being eligible for opting for mastectomy (thereby avoiding the need for radiotherapy) and others do not complete their course of radiotherapy following breast conserving surgery. The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent and causes of New Zealand women with early breast cancer receiving mastectomy or being undertreated with radiotherapy following breast conserving surgery, with a focus on the effect of differences in ethnicity and DHB.