Senator Marshall Announces Funding for UKMC Breast Cancer Research

(Washington, DC, March 8, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. announced the University of Kansas Medical Center received more than $850,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to study the effectiveness of combining menopausal and hormone therapies to reduce the risk of breast cancer, while also alleviating menopausal symptoms in women.

“As an OBGYN, I understand the complexity of women’s health, especially the risks that develop as they age from their reproductive years to menopause,” said Senator Marshall. “Sadly, breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women. It’s utterly relentless, especially for those where it’s hereditary or have a pre-cancerous condition. This is why prevention and early detection efforts are so important. The researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center developed an ingenious approach at reducing the risk of breast cancer while also alleviating common symptoms that occur as women go through menopause. And the symptoms of menopause can be debilitating if not under good care. I applaud their work and hope that these trials yield promising results.” 


The project, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), aims to prevent cancer in women by studying the effects of a combination of hormonal and non-hormonal treatment. Specifically, this clinical trial builds on a successful pilot trial that applied medication to preserve bone mass and a mixture of estrogen hormones to prevent breast cancer. The combination therapy also helps in alleviating menopausal symptoms like developing brittle and weak bones. Over the next five years, this research team will use breast imaging to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing breast cancer. 

This year, over a quarter-million women nationwide will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, including 2,380 women in Kansas. Women with an increased risk, especially those with a family history, are prescribed anti-estrogen drug therapy. Still, few women take it due to side effects like hot flashes. However, women are more likely to consider drug therapy in their 40s and 50s. Women often enter the menopause transition in this age range.  

The clinical trial is expected to begin early this summer and will enroll 120 women ages 45-60 with hot flashes and at increased risk for breast cancer from five NCI-designated Cancer Centers. In total, the University of Kansas Medical Center received $852,459.

Throughout his time in Congress, Senator Marshall has served as a strong advocate for women’s health including breast cancer research at NCI. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, supported by Senator Marshall, included increased federal research funding and prevented harmful reimbursement cuts from physicians treating breast cancer patients under Medicare.